A call to put re-use back at the heart of the AGEC Act

A major turning point, but there are still gaps to be filled

The adoption of the AGEC (Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy) law in 2020 marked a decisive turning point in France’s approach to waste management and the promotion of sustainable economic practices. With its 130 ambitious measures, this piece of legislation has laid the foundations for a genuine transition to a circular economy model, in which resources are preserved and optimally reused.

However, despite these significant advances, it is hard to ignore the fact that certain crucial aspects, such as re-use and waste prevention, seem to have taken a back seat to recycling. If this imbalance is not corrected, it could compromise the long-term effectiveness of this law.

Reuse, a neglected pillar of the circular economy

Reuse, which consists of giving a second life to used products or materials without transforming them, is a fundamental pillar of the circular economy. By extending the life of objects, it considerably reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration sites, while preserving the natural resources needed to produce new goods.

Far from being a marginal practice, re-use offers significant economic opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. Companies can generate substantial revenue from the sale of unsold or second-hand equipment, while reducing their waste management costs. As for consumers, they can access quality products at lower cost, while adopting a more responsible and sustainable way of consuming.

A necessary rebalancing

Faced with these challenges, it is imperative to rebalance the circular economy by putting reuse back at the heart of the conversation and public policy. This requires a renewed commitment from political decision-makers, businesses and civil society.

Concrete measures must be taken to encourage and facilitate large-scale re-use. These measures include the introduction of tax incentives for companies adopting these virtuous practices, as well as awareness-raising campaigns to encourage consumers to choose reused products rather than new ones.