Press Release: Integrating circular economy and bioeconomy would improve sustainability in Europe

Europe uses natural resources unsustainably and the European Union has put in place policies on circular economy and bioeconomy in response. A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report argues that implementing these two concepts in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures. 

According to the report, the increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources (approximately 72 % of the net annual increment of forests is currently harvested, pointing at a limited potential for the increased sourcing of wood biomass….More than one third of primary biomass sourced from forests is directly used to produce energy ).. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.

Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute to bioeconomy's sustainability, for example, by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams, the report says.

The report  "The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability'  "argues that biobased approaches should be tailored to the specific use context in order to maximise the benefits of biobased and biodegradable products. The technological innovation, covering product and infrastructure design, should be embedded in a wider system innovation that also tackles consumer behaviour, product use and waste management.

• Source: European Environment Agency; 27.08.2018 

In parallel, a number of Members of the EU Parliament, namely MEPs Karl-Heinz Florenz, Simona Bonafè, Mark Demesmaeker, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Merja Kyllönen, Davor Škrlec, Piernicola Pedicini, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety made a Question for Oral Answer to the Council. Subject: Monitoring framework for the circular economy

"Further to the European Parliament’s call in its resolution on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy, and the commitments laid out by the Commission in its Circular Economy Action Plan on 26 January 2017, the Commission finally published, on 16 January 2018, its communication on a monitoring framework for the circular economy.

1. What information does the Council consider necessary to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan and the increase of resource efficiency? Is the Council convinced that the indicators identified by the Commission are able to genuinely measure circularity, progress towards the achievement of the goals of the Circular Economy Action Plan, and prioritise strategic value chains and value retention? If not, what indicators do the Member States consider relevant?

2. How do the different Member States monitor progress towards a resource-efficient circular economy?

3. How does the Council intend to follow up on the actions undertaken by the Member States and stakeholders in the transition to a circular economy?

4. What concrete measures does the Council Presidency envisage for following up on the Commission communication?

5. What role did the Member States play in the development of the communication?"

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