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Legislative Framework

Welcome to the Legislation Section of this Platform

The content recorded below is a compilation of EU-issued documents which aims at providing an overview on the sectors touched upon by the ECOFUNCO project. These reviews specifically include the plastics and bioplastics sector, with an eye on circular economy and waste management directives. The review does not aim at being exhaustive, but at providing guidelines and available resources, and it might include further sectors, such as IT, in future updates.

For easy consultation, the review presents links to different types of EU documents, such as :

  • COM – EU Commission communications : Proposed legislation and other Commission communications to the Council and/or the other institutions, and their preparatory papers. Commission documents for the other institutions (legislative proposals, communications, reports, etc.). These documents provide a feeling of the strategic intentions of the Commission, which will be/have been translated in EU rules and regulations by the Council and the Parliament.
  • DIR – EU Directives: These are legislative acts that set out goals for all EU Countries to achieve. Following the issuance of a Directive, Countries can devise their own laws, setting out the best route to achieve the foreseen objectives.
  • (EC) No XXX/Year – EU Regulations. These are binding legislative acts, which must be applied in their entirety across the EU, in all Countries. They are adopted by the EU Council.
Title/Link Description
Communication COM(2020) 98: EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy

This Regulation is no longer in force. Originally, it made provision to ensure that manure and derived products are used or disposed of in such a way as not to pose a risk to public or animal health. The amendments on Chapter II of Annex VI set out specific requirements for the approval of biogas and composting plants using animal by-products. These amendments were incorporated in Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009, mentioned above.

Communication from the Commission COM(2011) 0571 “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”

In this Communication, the Commission establishes he objective of making Europe resource-efficient by supporting, among others, also the research on biodegradable plastic and on transforming waste into new resources. 

Communication from the Commission COM(2011) 0899 "Innovation for a sustainable future - The Eco-innovation Action Plan"

With this communication, the Commission wanted to focus on boosting innovation that results in or aims at reducing pressures on the environment and on bridging the gap between innovation and the market. The aim was to accelerate market uptake of eco-innovation by addressing its barriers and drivers.

Communication from the Commission COM(2018) 28 "A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy"

This Communication from the Commission proposes measures to make the European plastics system more resource-efficient, with the aim that all plastic packaging on the EU market will be reusable or recyclable by 2030. The strategy foresaw a ban of selected disposable plastics and, regarding bio-based or biodegradable plastics, the Commission pointed out the importance of a clear communication to consumers on the use and the disposal of biodegradable plastics.

Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste

With this directive, Member States had to “set up a national strategy for the implementation of the reduction of biodegradable waste going to landfills….” and to, stepwise, reduce “biodegradable municipal waste going to landfills (…) to 35 % of the total amount (by weight) of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995…”, 15 years after the deadline for implementation of the Directive into national law.

Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

The existing European Union legislation on packaging waste does not contain specific measures for lightweight plastic carrier bags. These can have a harmful impact on the environment and their consumption needs to be reduced. This directive sets targets to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags, including imposing charges or setting national maximum consumption targets and introduces specific measures for biodegradable and compostable plastic carrier bags. 

Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste

With this directive, EU Member States are encouraged to promote an increase in the share of reusable packaging. In addition, it acknowledges that fostering “a sustainable bio-economy can contribute to decreasing the Union’s dependence on imported raw materials. Bio-based recyclable products and compostable biodegradable products could represent therefore an opportunity to stimulate further research and innovation and to substitute fossil fuel-based feedstock with renewable resources.”

Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste

This directive amends the previous on European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC for the recovery and recycling of packaging and packaging waste in order to better reflect the Union’s ambition to move to a circular economy. The directive wants to encourage member states to adopt new measures to enhance the reuse of plastic packaging.

Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment

This directive states that by 2030 all plastic packaging has to be either reusable or recyclable. Furthermore, starting from June 2021, the directive prohibits selected single-use plastic products such as straws, cutlery and plates to be placed on the market, foresees the reduction of again other single-use items such as cups and food containers, and introduced the obligation for producers to inform about the negative effects of plastic waste.

European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste

Directive 94/62/EC sets out the EU's rules on managing packaging and packaging waste. EU countries must take measures, such as national programmes, incentives through extended producer responsibility schemes and other economic instruments, to prevent the generation of packaging waste and to minimise the environmental impact of packaging.

Other useful resources and summary documents:

Title link Description Source

The page, mantained by the European Commission, is a useful tool to easily search terms and expressions you can find while browsing fundin and tenders opportunities fron the European Union. 

Glossary of useful terms related with EU

The European Environment Agency is one of the executive agencies of the European Commission. It provides independent information on the environment for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. In close collaboration with the European Environmental Information and Observation Network (Eionet) and its 32 member countries, the EEA gathers data and produces assessments on a wide range of topics related to the environment. 

EEA Report No 18/2020 “Plastics, the circular economy and Europe′s environment — A priority for action”
Waste and materials in a Green Economy – Topic on Eionet portal
EEA Report reviewing waste prevention policies in Europe with a focus on how these policies approach the issue of plastics and plastic waste.

This interactive search tool offers an overview on EU’s legislation by single substance. It allows to search the database and land on comprehensive infocards and factsheets, frequently updated, which summaries include scope, obligations, exemptions, regulatory activities and lists of impacted substances, together with links to full legal texts in all EU languages.

European Chemical Agency (ECHA)

European Circular Economy Stakeholders Platform is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee. Its aim is to facilitate civil society consultation, cooperation between national, regional and sectoral networks and the exchange of expertise, information and best practices. The Knowledge Hub offers a series of reports submitted by stakeholders, while the Toolbox collects educational resources and financing opportunity in the framework of Circular Economy. The Dialogue section gives access to several ways of interacting with other circular economy stakeholders in Europe.

Strategies for Circular Economy

This page summarises useful resources concerning the sector, the challenges it faces and what the commission does to foster its competitiveness. It includes information on regulation; key players; classification, labelling and packaging; and information on specific chemicals.

EU Commission – Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs


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