Over the last 5 years, circular economy legislative files within the European Green Deal aimed at having a positive environmental impact while also driving innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability among different industries. These were designed to encourage product and material reuse, repair, and recycling, thereby reducing the reliance on finite resources and decreasing environmental impact of production and consumption. 

Despite potential political shifts towards the right-wing parties that may prioritise industry interests in the new EU set-up, the implementation of circular economy files is likely to proceed for years to come for several reasons. One is that the EU has made commitments to international agreements, as well as to sustainability and climate action targets such as the Paris Agreement. Implementing the circular economy files is part of fulfilling these commitments hence there are expectations to continue progressing regardless of the political shifts. 

Policymakers are also very conscious of the long-term benefits of transitioning to a circular economy, despite the short-term challenges or resistance from the industry. Investing in sustainability practises now will mitigate future risks associated with resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and climate change. These practises will also lead to cost savings for businesses through improved resource efficiency, reduced waste disposal, and enhanced resilience to supply chain disruptions. 

While the political shifts may influence the pace or specific details (secondary legislation) of the implementation, the fundamental principles of the circular economy are likely to remain a priority for the EU. They aim to address the ‘bigger picture’ and tackle the persistent environmental challenges, ultimately reaching the desired sustainable development goals. 

 Key files 

  • Green Claims Directive adoption: The proposal aims to protect consumers and companies from greenwashing and enable consumers to contribute to accelerating the green transition by making informed purchasing decisions based on credible environmental claims and labels. 
  • Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation delegated act and working plan: The Regulation aims to make products placed on the EU single market more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable, and energy efficient. The implementation will focus on the creation of Digital Product Passports and on a number of product groups in its first working plan, including iron, steel, aluminium, textiles, tyres and chemicals. Furthermore, there is a direct ban on the destruction of textiles and footwear, but the Commission is empowered to adopt additional destruction bans for other categories of unsold products through secondary legislation. 
  • Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation delegated acts: The Regulation offers more options for reusable packaging, limits the production of unnecessary packaging and the use of overpackaging, while promoting better recycling using clear labels. It will restrict unnecessary packaging and promote reusable and refillable packaging solutions, boost high-quality recycling to make all packaging in the EU recyclable by 2030, and will strengthen the competitiveness of secondary materials from recycled packaging compared to the virgin feedstock. 
  • Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive- delegated acts: The Directive stands for transparency on durability and reparability of products to protect consumers from commercial practices that prevent them from shopping more sustainably. Particular focus is on planned obsolescence and labelling information to increase the visibility of the voluntary commercial guarantee of durability, as well as to improve the legal guarantee of conformity. 
  • Batteries and Batteries Regulation delegated act: The Regulation establishes mandatory requirements for all batteries placed on the EU market. Those requirements relate to sustainability and safety, as well as to labelling and information, due diligence policies and a “battery passport”, which will be structured through the secondary legislation. 
  • Textiles Labelling Regulation – Commission proposal for revision: The Commission will revise the Textile Labelling Regulation to introduce specifications for physical and digital labelling of textiles, including sustainability and circularity parameters based on requirements under the proposed Regulation on eco-design for sustainable products. It will address the current shortcomings as well as diverging the labelling requirements between Member States.