Sustainable transition: the EU promotes the circular economy

The circular economy, an essential model for a sustainable future

The circular economy has become a key priority for the European Union (EU) in its quest to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This transition requires an in-depth review of our production and consumption patterns, promoting sustainability, the reuse of resources and the reduction of waste.

Circular economy action plan

In March 2020, the European Commission launched an ambitious action plan with over 30 measures to promote the circular economy. The plan is structured around four major themes:

  1. Designing sustainable products : Eco-design is at the heart of this approach, with increasing requirements for durability and reparability for products placed on the EU market.
  2. Empowering consumers to choose:: Citizens need to be informed and encouraged to make informed choices, particularly in terms of responsible consumption and repair rather than replacement.
  3. Targeting key sectors: Certain sectors, such as electronics, construction, textiles and plastics, are particularly concerned by the transition to a circular economy because of their high resource consumption and environmental impact.
  4. Reducing waste: The aim is to reduce waste production and encourage the recycling, reuse and recovery of materials.

The right to reparation: a crucial step

On February 2, 2024, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Right to Repair Directive. This directive aims to guarantee consumers the right to have their products repaired rather than replaced. The main provisions of the agreement include:

– Consumers will be able to demand the repair of technically repairable products, such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners or cell phones.

– A European repair information form will be made available free of charge.

– An online platform will make it easier for consumers to contact repairers.

– The seller’s liability period after a product has been repaired will be extended by 12 months.

By encouraging repair rather than replacement, this directive will help to extend the life of products, reduce waste and promote more sustainable business models.