The Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has opened the public information and consultation period for the first Circular Economy Action Plan 2021-2023. The consultation period will close on 26 February. The Plan seeks to outline specific measures for the implementation of the Spanish Circular Economy Strategy, which will be the competence of the National State Administration.

The Circular Economy Strategy was ratified on 2 June 2020 and lays the foundations for promoting a new model of production and consumption in which the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, waste production is minimised and unavoidable waste is availed of. It is envisaged that the Strategy will be implemented by means of successive three-year action plans. 

The first Action Plan, now being submitted for public consultation, contains 112 measures led by different government departments belonging to the National State Administration. The MITECO has submitted more measures for the Plan than any other ministry, with 49 measures of its own and 4 shared measures.

These 112 measures are grouped within 8 pillars or lines of action: Production, Consumption, Waste Management, Secondary Raw Materials and Water Reuse; as well as the transversal areas: Awareness and Participation; Research, Innovation and Competitiveness; and Employment and Training.

Production, consumption, waste management 

The first line of action, Production, includes 16 measures aimed at the implementation of the circular economy in various areas, from the food industry to the forestry sector. These measures include the promotion of eco-design and the inclusion of circular-economy-related requirements in the specifications and programmes for public aid, loans and credit lines.

The second line of action, Consumption, features 13 measures, with those related to consumer information standing out. These measures include promotion of the European Ecolabel (ECOLABEL) and the development of a label providing information on the service life of the product, especially the reparability index. There are also measures for the reduction of food waste, including regulatory measures, and measures related to public-private partnership with the hospitality sector.

This second line also includes measures to encourage sustainable consumption, such as the promotion of second-hand markets and the reuse of public infrastructures. Finally, it features measures relating to the inclusion of the circular economy in public procurement, both centralised and individualised.

The Waste Management line of action contains 29 measures to bring waste legislation and plans in line with circular economy criteria: from the future Waste and Contaminated Land Act to the new packaging legislation, as well as legislation on electrical and electronic equipment and batteries, and legislation on other waste types. The introduction of new requirements for textiles and agricultural plastics, and the development of new waste prevention and waste planning programmes are also envisaged.

Secondary raw materials and water reuse

The Secondary Raw Materials line of action consists of 12 measures. It includes actions to implement and promote the use of by-products and to develop end-of-waste criteria, as well as to analyse the implications of this criteria for the secondary raw materials market.

The line of action dedicated to water reuse has 4 measures aimed at supporting irrigation through the use of reclaimed water, improving information on water uses for better planning, including water reuse among the available water volumes, and reviewing the regulatory framework for water reuse.

The Awareness and Participation line contains 19 measures aimed at raising awareness in the field of business, e.g., through the development of good circular economy practices or regular newsletters; and in the field of consumption, through different awareness campaigns.

Research, innovation and jobs

The line for research, innovation and competitiveness includes 8 measures aimed at promoting innovation in the field of the bioeconomy, research and dissemination of results on the circular economy in general, particularly in some areas such as R&D&I into the provision of incentives for circular economy solutions for wind turbine blades.

Finally, the employment and training line includes 11 measures aimed at training and insertion programmes for certain groups such as miners and young people, the development of workshop schools and trade schools, and the review of the specialities included in the State Public Employment Service’s (SEPE) Catalogue of Training Specialities. There are also measures to promote employment in the field of the circular economy, such as the Fundación Biodiversidad’s Emprendeverde green entrepreneurship programme, or the promotion of social entities dedicated to the circular economy activities, amongst others.