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Product design policy will be key to circular economy, EU says

(EurActiv, 18 Dec 2020) As the European Union seeks to transition to a ‘circular economy’, the policy focus in 2021 will turn to products: how they are designed, and why so many seem to be made to throw away.

The European Commission wants to transform the way we produce and consume products. And when an initial strategy to do so wasn’t delivering as much as hoped, the EU executive gave it another shot earlier this year.

The ‘Circular Economy action plan 2.0’, unveiled in March, is a renewed attempt to change the way we produce, use and dispose of goods. Like its predecessor launched five years ago, it doesn’t contain hard legislation yet but instead sets a series of goals, like halving municipal waste by 2030, some of which will be translated later on in hard legal requirements.

Main ideas include giving consumers a new “right to repair” for computers and smartphones, establishing green criteria for construction products, updating existing resource use indicators, and planning a Sustainable Product Policy Framework.

Speaking at a EURACTIV event last week, Paola Migliorini, a senior official at the European Commission’s environment department, gave details about how the EU executive will roll out policy in the course of 2021.

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EurActiv, 18 Dec 2020: Product design policy will be key to circular economy, EU says