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CHAMPION Project welcomes EU’s transition to a circular economy

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission adopted two measures proposed in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP):

The CHAMPION project welcomes this further step in the EU’s transition to a circular economy, to stimulate and increase resource-efficiency and reach zero pollution. Yet, we note that more effort is needed to fully implement the main drivers of the European Green Deal, which are making sustainable products the norm and boosting circular business models. Furthermore, recently peaking energy prices have shown that reducing our dependency on fossil and non-renewable resources is urgently needed. Our recommendations therefore include:

  • While plastics are a significant part of the EU waste streams, there are many other products that can and should be produced from biobased material. We therefore recommend further measures formulated under the CEAP to jointly address a wider scope.¹ The interim results of the CHAMPION project, for example, illustrate that a circular approach to coatings, washing detergents and structural adhesives is achievable.

  • The laws of thermodynamics tell us that recycling always requires energy. Furthermore, recycling usually will be incomplete and leave residual waste. Reaching a full circular transition therefore requires policies to move beyond increased recycling and use of recycled content.

  • Ecodesign should become the norm, aiming for full deconstruction of products at end-of-life. To achieve this, ecodesign requirements should be formulated, preferably in the form of EN standards that include hierarchical deconstruction into separable components and materials, as well as at the molecular level.

  • As soon as circular alternatives are available at industrial scale, the use of non-circular routes should be avoided. The recommended approach is that stringent legislation is defined to support the general policy framework, including targets and an enforcement mechanism.

  • Boosting circular business models requires the provision of certainty for investors in circular production processes while preventing excessive costs to society. Using incremental target setting for both sustainable production and consumption will help economic actors to gradually adjust their approach and find a cost-effective pathway.


¹ In addition to plastics, the CEAP also addresses electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, textiles, construction and buildings, and food, water and nutrients. While recognising that when developing a wide range of individual measures, a focus on resource-intensive sectors with high circularity potential is a sensible approach, we do believe full circularity should be pursued for all products and processes where this is technically feasible and that policy support should be provided for those developments where proof of concept is available.


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