Spanish Government ratifies 1st Circular Economy Action Plan with budget of €1,529 M

The Action Plan contains 116 measures that the General State Administration will implement over the three-year period 2021-2023 to consolidate the transition to a circular, decarbonised economic model. The measures are grouped within 8 lines of action: Production; Consumption; Waste Management; Secondary Raw Materials; Water Reuse; Awareness and Participation; Research, Innovation and Competitiveness; and Employment and Training. This Plan, along with the Waste Bill and the Circular Economy Strategy, forms the cornerstone of the circular economy package, which plays a vital role in the Spanish National Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR).

On the proposal of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO), the Spanish Cabinet today ratified the 1st Circular Economy Action Plan (PAEC). The Plan has a budget of €1,529 million and contains 116 measures that the General State Administration will implement over the three-year period 2021-2023 to support and progressively consolidate the implementation of a circular and decarbonised economic model.

These measures are grouped within 8 lines of action designed to facilitate the implementation of circular economy initiatives: Production; Consumption; Waste Management; Secondary Raw Materials; and Water Reuse, in addition to the transversal lines of Awareness and Participation; Research, Innovation and Competitiveness; and Employment and Training.

The implementation of this first Action Plan was envisaged in the España Circular 2030 Strategy, presented by the Government a year ago. This strategy was created for the purpose of implementing specific measures to make the circular economy a reality.

The Action Plan, together with the Waste and Contaminated Land Bill, remitted to Parliament at the last meeting of the Spanish Cabinet (May 18), forms the cornerstone of the circular economy package, one of the most significant structural reforms contained in Component 12 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) submitted by Spain to the European Commission.

PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT

The first line of action focuses on Production (design and manufacture). It features 17 measures aimed at the implementation of the circular economy in areas ranging from the food industry to the forestry sector. These measures include the promotion of eco-design and the inclusion of requirements in the tender specifications and programmes for public aid, loans and credit lines.

Particularly noteworthy is the Circular SME initiative, which aims to integrate the circular economy in small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as in new business models. It seeks to provide spaces for creativity, the generation of ideas and adaptation to the change from the “linear” to the “circular” model. This line of action also includes initiatives to implement the circular economy in the field of private enterprise through funding under the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

The first line of action also includes measures in the area of tourism, such as the creation of new circular tourism products and promotion of the “Smart Tourism Destination Method” tool to help municipalities design sustainable tourism action plans.

The line of action devoted to Consumption features 13 measures related to consumer information, such as the European Ecolabel (ECOLABEL) and the development of a label providing information on the service life of the product and its reparability index. There are also measures for the reduction of food waste, the promotion of second-hand markets and the reuse of public infrastructures, as well as the inclusion of the circular economy in public procurement procedures.

The 30 measures contained in the Waste Management line of action seek to bring waste legislation and plans in line with circular economy criteria.

This line of action introduces new requirements for textiles and agricultural plastics, and envisages the development of new waste prevention and waste planning programmes. It also includes funding for the improvement of municipal waste management under the PRTR. More specifically, it envisages analysis of the feasibility of a Deposit Return System for old mobile phones and other waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It also includes measures aimed at improving the management of waste associated with renewable energy installations, cinema and the audio-visual arts.

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. It also envisages the ratification of a roadmap on mineral raw materials and the identification of extractive industry waste facilities that treat critical raw materials. It also features measures related to the use of secondary raw materials that are safe for human health and the environment.

The line of action dedicated to Water Reuse has 4 measures aimed at supporting irrigation systems that use reclaimed water, improving information on water uses and reviewing the regulatory framework for water reuse.

RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND JOBS

The Awareness and Participation line contains 19 measures focusing on the development of good circular economy practices in business and the undertaking of awareness campaigns in the area of consumption.

The Plan contains 9 measures aimed at promoting Research, Innovation and Competitiveness in the field of the bioeconomy and the circular economy. The Employment and Training line of action contains 12 measures focusing on training and integration programmes for certain groups, such as miners and young people, as well as the development of schools, workshops and vocational centres to promote employment in the field of the circular economy, along the lines of the Emprendeverde Programme.

This first Circular Economy Action Plan will provide a framework for the diversity of measures to be carried out in the period 2021-2023 for the purpose of successfully implementing the Circular Economy Strategy. The Strategy lays the foundations for promoting a new production and consumption model 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 to the utmost.