Circular Economy Roadmap: Where will it take us?

In May 2015, the European Commission published its awaited Circular Economy Roadmap. The roadmap is key in the circular economy discussions as it presents European authorities’ main priorities and strategy on resource efficiency. Beyond the actual environmental issues it aims at tackling, the concept of circular economy encompasses a number of other dimensions which can have crucial socio-economic impacts on European citizens and affect Europe’s competitiveness.

Circular Economy strategy: the piece of a broader puzzle

In July 2014, the former European Commission adopted a waste legislative proposal that was notably planning to create “an enabling framework for the circular economy” in Europe and was meant to improve legislative and non-legislative policy instruments to promote the circular economy, green employment, green action plan for SMEs sustainable buildings and legislative proposals on waste.

Yet, when it took office last November, the new European Commission decided to withdraw the circular economy package for its lack of ‘circularity’. The package was too much focused on waste. Following this decision, the Commission immediately began discussing new ambitions.


Commissioner Vella at the European Parliament

More insight on the roadmap

The newly published roadmap highlights the Commission’s understanding of the course of action to achieve a circular economy in Europe.

One of the main points emphasized by the European executive branch is that the circular economy requires action at all stages of the life cycle of products. Consequently all aspects of products’ manufacturing, distribution, consumption and waste management require action and involvement from both public and private stakeholders to improve their environmental and economic sustainability.

Thus, the aim of the circular economy strategy is to tackle any barriers that could impede the growth of existing and new markets and business models, by ensuring a comprehensive and coherent approach that “fully takes into account interactions and interdependence across the whole value chain, rather than focusing exclusively on one part of the economic cycle”. According to the roadmap, such initiatives would also create an added value to for Europe and help create jobs, improve consumers’ experience, and reduce products’ environmental impacts.

For the industry this is a crucial point and what is even more positive is that its contribution has been emphasized in the consultation on the Circular Economy launched by the European Commission on 28 May 2015.

Where does ISOPA fit into discussions on the circular economy?

As a representative of the polyurethane industry, ISOPA is committed to ensuring the waste management and resource efficiency of products from diisocyanates and polyols can benefit both the environment and European society and economy.

We have illustrated our commitment to such goals by investing in research and innovation to improve polyurethanes’ waste management. Thanks to this ongoing applications and implication, more than 250,000 tonnes of polyurethane are recycled and recovered every year – a number which we are happy to see increasing on a daily basis.

Closer to their home, European citizens can witness how environmentally responsible the Polyurethane industry is. Although it is not necessarily obvious – and practically visible – polyurethanes used in everyday applications, such as refrigerators, freezers and other household appliances, contribute to saving energy and resources. And one should not forget the contribution to our industry in food waste prevention!

Ultimately, polyurethanes help saving natural resources and your money! It is worth investing in quality materials, wouldn’t you say?

All in all, whatever direction the European Union or national authorities will take on circular economy and waste management, the Polyurethane industry will always commit to improving its standards and pushing its ambitions forward. .

For more information, please read:

Polyurethanes and the circular economy: we make it happen

Saving resources in Europe: What future for the circular economy model?

Do you have an opinion on the circular economy package and/or what it should look like? Don’t hesitate to engage with us on Twitter and visit our website!

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