#TheGreenTrack campaign is engaging young Europeans in the fight to build a more sustainable future. It addresses key topics, including the circular economy.
What’s the challenge?
Our economy is currently linear. We take raw materials and resources to make products, which we discard as waste when they reach the end of their lifespan. This resource-intense approach is not sustainable, and recycling is not sufficient to tackle the volume of waste that we generate. If we continue consuming resources at the current rate, by 2050 we will be consuming the equivalent of three planet Earths every year. The circular economy approach minimises waste and keeps the value of products in the economy for as long as possible.
We have to rethink our entire 'take-make-consume-throw away' approach to consumption. We need to re-examine how we use our resources, how we produce and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only in this way will it be possible to create a sustainable circular economy that will allow people to thrive and prosper within the planet’s limits.
What is the EU response?
The European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan in March 2020, introducing initiatives along the entire lifecycle of products. The action plan targets how products are designed, promotes circular economy processes, encourages sustainable consumption, and aims to ensure that waste is prevented and that resources are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.
Measures in the action plan will make sustainable products the norm in the EU. The plan focuses on resource-intense sectors where the potential for circularity is high, ensuring less waste and establishing the EU as a global circular economy leader. The EU’s transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources and will create sustainable growth and jobs. This circular economy transition is critical if the EU is to achieve its 2050 climate neutrality target and halt biodiversity loss.
The key EU laws and strategies to promote a circular economy are:
managing waste in an environmentally sound manner and making use of the secondary materials it contains
ensuring that European industry can lead the way towards climate neutrality
transforming the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU
reducing the use of pesticides and fertilisers and promoting organic farming
providing a common language for assessing and reporting on the sustainability performance of buildings
better business and regulatory environment for sustainable and circular textiles in the EU
awarded to products and services that meet high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle
effective tools for improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of products
leveraging opportunities for consumer empowerment brought about by the green and digital transitions
shaping more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive forms of living together
the Commission’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030
Make sure to follow the campaign events, engage with #TheGreenTrack campaign online and join the next Green Track stops.