The European Union (EU) has had laws on the disposal of waste for over 30 years and laws concerning the environmental performance of products for over 20. However, these laws have not formed a cohesive whole - and that is about to change. December 2015 saw the European Commission (the body responsible for proposing new EU legislation) published its Circular Economy Package, with the stated objective of "closing the loop" of product lifecycles. This paper provides an overview of this package and demonstrates why the development of standards underpins future legislation.
Based on literature and six country studies (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia) this paper discusses the compatibility of the EU 2020 targets for renewable energy with conservation of biodiversity.We conclude that increased demand for biomass for bioenergy purposes may lead to a continued conversion of valuable habitats into productive lands and to intensification, which both have negative effects on biodiversity.