The European Commission has adopted an ambitious set of new measures on the Circular Economy to help European businesses and consumers in the transition to a more solid and circular economy, where resources are used in a more sustainable way. The proposed actions will help to “close the loop” of product life cycle, through increased recycling and reuse, and will also bring benefits to both the environment and the economy. These plans will bring out maximum value and use of all raw materials, products and waste, promoting energy, savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
It has been demonstrated that one of the most suitable instruments to collaborate in the achievement of these objectives, are the eco-labels for products and services that give consumers the guarantee that both, products and services comply with the environmental quality requirements beyond what the Law establishes.
The Action Plan for Circular Economy.
In the Action Plan for Circular Economy, the Commission emphasizes the importance of providing the consumer with clear and homogeneous information on the environmental aspects of products, avoiding possible confusing information reflected in the multiple existing eco-labels. For this reason, the labels currently in use in the EU are being adapted to provide clear, accurate, and objective information on the environmental benefits of products and services.
The Environmental Quality Assurance Symbol.
The Environmental Quality Guarantee Symbol is an eco-label for products and services developed by the General Directorate of Environmental Quality of the Catalan Government, whose purpose is to encourage producers and consumers of products and service providers to fulfill the objectives of Circular Economy.
The criteria used for the granting of this eco-label are divided into general environmental criteria, applicable to the entire category and specific environmental criteria for each subcategory (if any). In addition, some products categories / services provide the possibility of providing complementary information on the environmental aspects of the product / service life cycle in question, such as LCA, energy consumption, waste policy, etc.
In this project, ZICLA® has collaborated with the General Directorate of Environmental Quality in identifying the steps to be taken to adapt the Environmental Quality Guarantee to the framework of the Circular Economy. Basically, this eco-label helps promote:
- Production, marketing, use and consumption of eco-designed products to facilitate repair, reuse, upgrade, re-manufacturing and recycling, and ensure their durability through these or other means (warranty, technical service, etc.)
- Efficient production processes through innovation, industrial symbiosis, intelligent specialization, value chain adhesion, use of best practices through BREF and through the integration of any other type of eco- innovation.
- An efficient use of resources with a special focus on water and energy, ensuring a sustainable origin of raw materials, catalyzing the market for secondary materials made from waste, and promoting better waste management that respects the hierarchy of waste from the EU, carry out the separation at the origin of the different types of waste, the clear management of residues, and their monitoring.
- Purchase and green procurement in the Administration.
Furthermore, it is a question that the Symbol serves to:
- Provide consumers with clear and homogeneous information on the environmental aspects of the products and services that obtain the Distinctive symbol.
- Consider, as a matter of priority, those elements that today represent important environmental challenges in the EU, as well as business opportunities, such as plastics, food waste, nutrients, construction and demolition waste, critical raw materials or bio-products.