The European chemical industry considers the circular economy as part of a strategy to make Europe more resource efficient. This can be achieved both by avoiding unnecessary material and energy losses throughout the life-cycle of products and maximising value by keeping resources circulating in loops, after first usage, many more times than today. Environmental reasons and business arguments suggest doing so.
In Cefic’s view, the circular economy should be based on the following principles:
- Life-cycle thinking. The solutions to be provided should be the most environmentally benign, cost-effective and socially acceptable over the entire life-cycle.
- Holistic value-chain approach. Creating partnerships across the whole value-chain (including e.g. chemical manufacturers, downstream users and consumers) is the right way forward.
- Safety first. The circulation of resources in loops must be managed in a safe way for workers, consumers and the environment.
Listen to Marco Mensink, Cefic Director General, talking about circular economy.
The Circular Economy package
On 2 December 2015, the Commission published its Circular Economy package including a revised waste proposal and an action plan for the coming years. The European chemical industry welcomes the package. We look to the Parliament, the Council and the Commission to back an ongoing evolutionary process, working with the market to:
- Encourage innovation and investments in economically viable solutions.
- Remove regulatory, administrative and financial barriers.
- Support the businesses investing in new promising areas.
Our key recommendations
Cefic calls on the Parliament, the Council and the Commission to:
- Apply the “safety first” principle to the circular economy.
- Clarify the concept of waste and that of by-products under the Waste Framework Directive. The latter should not hinder further use of valuable materials.
- Remove the barriers (e.g. custom duties and technical barriers) preventing European companies from having fair access to renewables on the international market.
Read Cefic position paper on circular economy
Read Cefic position paper on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive
Read Cefic Case Study on by-product and waste definition: the case of crude glycerine
Read Cefic Case Study on by-product and waste definition: the case of molasses
Discover how the chemical industry is enabling the circular economy
The European chemical industry is continuously developing new technologies to keep resources circulating in closed loops across all the major sectors of our economy. The chemical industry has the know-how and the capabilities to make the European economy more circular over time.
Discover some of our contributions below:
- New technologies enable water re-use . Watch the video
- Doing more with less: how to reuse paint material waste. Watch the video
- Chemistry allows carpets to be designed for 100 % recycling and 95 % energy reduction during production. Read more
- Vinyl Plus: CO2 savings of up to 92% are achieved when PVC is recycled. Read more
- Chemistry brings Rare Earth Elements from wasted fluorescent lamps back into the market. Watch the video