The EU Circular Economy Package – Life Cycle Thinking to Life Cycle Law?

Elsevier, Procedia CIRP, Volume 61, 2017, Pages 10-16

Author: Richard Hughes

Abstract

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. First-hand information is provided as the author of the paper is the Convenor of the newly created CEN-CENELEC group responsible for drafting standards related to the material efficiency of products.

Keywords

circular economy; material efficiency; ecodesign; EC; EU; legislation; directive; regulation; standard; harmonised standard