Package on the circular economy

A functioning circular economy contributes to the long-term availability of raw materials and hence to industrial value creation. Waste recovery, resource efficiency and the use of raw materials from primary and further sources must be better linked.

What is at stake?

The European Commission has presented a package of measures with which it seeks to strengthen the concept of the circular economy. Alongside prevention and better recovery of waste, raw materials should be used more efficiently, recycling of products improved and the marketing of secondary raw materials increased. To this end, the European Commission has announced a series of initiatives.

Priorities of German Business

German industry supports the circular economy. It can contribute to a sustainable and secure supply of raw materials through a life-cycle assessment. Industrial companies themselves have optimised raw materials use in many areas. A good circular economy policy calls for a measured approach so that industry remains globally competitive and can drive resource efficiency and environmental protection forward through its products.

Industry champions safe, affordable, efficient and high quality waste management. When European waste legislation is reviewed, it is necessary to give priority to uniform implementation and application of existing law in EU Member States. For the development of circular economy, the following aspects are important:

  • Environmental protection through use of the best available technologies and infrastructures
  • Cost efficiency through modern and aff ordable standards
  • Security of supply through use of locally available raw materials as well as materials and energy recovery from waste
  • New business fields through promotion of innovation and appropriate framework conditions
  • Reliable and uniform framework conditions through implementation and consistent enforcement of environmental legislation in all EU Member States

Increase in raw materials efficiency in Germany

1994 = 100

Source: Federal Statistical Office, 2014

Raw materials productivity (direct material input/GDP) in Germany increased by more than 47 % between 1994 and 2013. This can be attributed to a large extent to the commitment of companies. The Federal Government aspires to a 100 % improvement by 2020. The EU plans for the circular economy can make an important contribution to this.

Source: Federal Statistical Office, 2014