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Social and environmental spillovers of the EU circular economy transition

Material consumption in the European Union is high and rising, creating significant environmental and social impacts along the value chain from raw material extraction to treatment of waste both inside and outside the EU. Several circular economy initiatives have been put forward or are expected to be implemented to slow and reduce this material throughput and therefore to mitigate its environmental and social consequences. However, all circular economy policies can have positive as well as negative environmental and social spillovers, which should be carefully assessed in policy design.

This series of briefings assesses social and environmental spillovers associated with the EU’s circular transition in the key sectors: electric and electronic equipment, plastics, fertilisers and transport. Each briefing sets out the policy context and outlines the material flows associated with the consumption of materials in each sector. It continues with an overview of circular economy policies in a relevant sector as well as their potential positive and negative environmental and social spillovers, respectively, both inside and outside the EU. Each briefing concludes with policy recommendations for a socially and environmentally just circular economy transition. 

© Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

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