Pace of progress on circular economy needs to accelerate

Stronger policies on energy and material resources are needed in Europe to boost progress towards a circular economy, according to a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The report gives an overview of national approaches and policies on resource efficiency across the 39 European countries who are members of, or cooperate with, the EEA. It notes that, between 2000 and 2014, resource use across these countries fell both in absolute terms (by 12%) and per person (from 15.5 to 13.1 tonnes per person). 

However, the reductions were mainly due to the sharp decline in construction between 2007 and 2014 as a result of the financial crisis rather than policy intervention, the report states. 

The agency says only Austria, Finland and Germany have dedicated national strategies for material resource efficiency, with Scotland and Flanders in Belgium operating strategies at a regional level. 

In a survey for the report, the EEA found manufacturing was most frequently identified at a national ...

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