The Circular Economy Action Plan of the European Commission sets out a product policy framework in order to increase sustainable production of goods and services. The action plan provides the strategic orientations of the Commission for other EU institutions to consider and for Member States to integrate in their own national strategies. Under the EU Green Deal, the EU has released its new Circular Economy Action Plan. This action plan supersedes the previous circular economy action plan of 2015.
The Circular Economy Action Plan is inspired by and aims to widen the scope of the Ecodesign Directive of 2009, which sets out requirements for energy-consuming products (e.g. identification of the environmental aspects of raw material selection and use).
The Circular Economy Action Plan contains specific measures for vehicles and batteries, identified as key product value chains:
- improve the recycling rates of batteries and the recovery of their valuable components in order to reduce the dependency on external suppliers;
- use alternatives to non-rechargeable batteries when they exist;
- implement sustainability and transparency requirements for batteries and their raw materials
Moreover, it includes actions to create a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials, including:
- develop further EU-wide end-of-waste criteria for certain waste streams;
- enhance the role of standardisation; and
- assess the feasibility of establishing a market observatory for key secondary materials.
The plan creates new norms for sustainable business models, with the automobile and batteries industry considered a priority sector for implementation. The progress will be monitored on a European Dataspace for Smart Circular Applications. The Circular Economy Action Plan should be supplemented with a waste management plan, to create a secondary market of high-quality raw materials.