Turning waste into opportunity: The EU is adopting measures to accelerate the transition to a circular economy whilst each EU citizen produces nearly half a tonne of municipal waste in a single year. In light of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) of the European Commission, how should the EU further support Member States in their transition to a circular economy? 

Submitted by: Miriam Dragosits (CH), Roemer Declercq (NL), Lusan Haan (NL), Nailah Zafira Hofstetter (NL), Dewran Murad (NL), Mika Christina Schukken (NL), Evanti ten Voorde (NL), Daryna Hoch (Chairperson, UA)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Noting with dissatisfaction that certain Member States are not adhering to current waste management legislation, such as the Waste Framework Directive1The Waste Framework Directive establishes the principles of waste management and waste hierarchy. and the Landfill Directive2The Landfill Directive introduces basic requirements of landfilling and waste treatment.,
  2. Pointing out that particular Member States are financially incapable of transitioning to a circular economy,
  3. Expressing appreciation toward the Member States for developing National Action Plans harmonised with the the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), 
  4. Concerned with the lack of sufficient governmental incentives for businesses to adopt circular economy business model,
  5. Disturbed by the fact that NGOs do not have any influence over the decision-making process on a governmental level,
  6. Deeply concerned by the recent rise of mass consumption and mass production trends,
  7. Alarmed by consumers’ lack of awareness on circular economy, its benefits and ways of implementing it,
  8. Deploring businesses implementing greenwashing3Greenwashing is a form of marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organisation’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly. practises,
  9. Expressing regret about the lack of sufficient EU funding for the practical implementation of circular economy initiatives by the general public, 
  10. Regretting the lack of investments, possible consumer loss due to higher prices, and lack of governmental support and general knowledge on circular economy for businesses,
  11. Further acknowledging the reluctance of businesses towards changing into circular economy business,
  12. Recognising the difficulties the EU faces when trading with non-EU based companies which do not adhere to the EU standards for the production;
  1. Calls upon the European Commision to establish a new annual Intergovernmental Conference on Circular Economy (ICCE), which will:
    1. be a focal point for tracking the progress and sharing short-term plans of Member States on their transition to circular economy,
    2. serve as a knowledge-sharing platform on legislation and practical implementations of circular economy;
  2. Requests the European Environment Agency (EEA) to create a specific Circular Economy Task Force (CETF), consisting of interdisciplinary experts and NGO representatives, which will: 
    1. analyse Member States’ reports on their short-term progress in transitioning into circular economy models,
    2. identify the source of the problems for Member States not adhering to the the circular economy legislation,
    3. visit specific Member States to consult with local environmental NGOs and governmental structures;
  3. Calls upon the European Investment Bank to reallocate existing funds to the Member States in need based on the consultations with the CETF;
  4. Further calls upon the Member States to use the reallocated funds as an incentive for local businesses transitioning to circular economy business models;
  5. Urges national governments to raise direct taxes if the companies are using non-recyclable materials for the production, selling non-recyclable products, or using unsustainable transportation;
  6. Instructs the European Commission to increase the authority of NGOs specialising in circular economy by:
    1. inviting NGOs to the ICCE,
    2. giving the consulting position in the EU governmental bodies;
  7. Encourages the European Commission to further support and prolong the LIFE program4The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. to 2050, specifically in the sphere of circular economy;
  8. Encourages the EEA to provide experts in the field of circular economy upon Member States requests; 
  9.  Encourages the Member States to provide public education on circular economy to the general public through:
    1. governmental advertisements, 
    2. public debates, 
    3. courses for all levels educational levels;
  10. Calls upon the European Commission to improve on the current CEAP greenwashing regulations by:
    1. making the ecolabelling system5Ecolabeling system is a voluntary system that identifies products that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. obligatory,
    2. setting up a publicly available database rating companies and their products on a sustainability scale using the Product Environmental Footprint Methodology6Product Environmental Footprint Methodology is a methodology created to provide a common way of measuring environmental performance for companies within the EU wishing to market their product.;
  11. Instructs the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) to introduce a quota on the European internal market, limiting the amount of products from manufacturers that do not adhere to the standard of sustainability scale,
  12. ​​Recommends the European Commission to revise the “Monitoring progress towards a circular economy” section of the CEAP by taking The Science for Environment Policy7The Science for Environment Policy study has analysed how to reduce the environmental footprint of EU trade by preferentially importing goods from countries that have greener production processes. into account.