Circular economy needs boost in demand

European federations Euric and Fead are calling on the EU commission to focus more on the demand side in their circular economy package.

“We believe the revised Circular Economy Package should have proposed a number of regulatory pull measures so as to correct existing market failures”, a joined press release states. The statement further points out that the recovery of waste will only happen “if the recovery of those waste resources is economically viable at prices which reflect the true cost of collecting them, sorting them, recycling and marketing them to end users”.

The federations welcome the ban of separately collected waste from landfill the binding recycling targets for municipal waste. This would increase the supply of secondary raw materials, but not automatically create a demand for them. “We also need to make sure that European legislation lays down the framework conditions to support a sustainable demand for those secondary raw materials, so that the economics of a circular economy become self-supporting”, Euric and Fead point out.

“Without demand side measures which create sustainable markets for secondary raw materials, the environmental benefits of recycling activities in terms of energy savings or CO2 reduction will not be realized, and there will be no economic basis for the investment needed to achieve the goals set out in the Circular Economy Package”, the statement reads.

Euric and Fead propose five ways to boost the demand for secondary raw materials:

  • Ensure fair competition between virgin and secondary raw materials by financially rewarding the environmental benefits of recycling;
  • Introduce minimum recycled content requirements for selected products;
  • Introduce minimum green public procurement requirements at EU level to boost purchase of recycled products and materials;
  • Amend eco-labelling rules to incorporate indications of recycled content and recyclability;
  • Encourage Member States to take fiscal and financial incentives such as lower or zero rate of VAT to favor secondary raw materials which will be re-injected in the economy and products.


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