Publication: Squaring the Circle: Policies from Europe’s Circular Economy Transition

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World Bank
This report reviews Europe’s experience in spearheading CE policy. Its aim is not only to highlight its features and accomplishments, but also identify existing barriers to future progress and key measures to overcome them. Its objective is dual: contributing to CE policy development within the European Union (EU), while at the same time identifying lessons from the EU’s CE leadership that can be of benefit to non-European countries. Europe has made important progress in achieving material efficiency gains. Over the past two decades, total material use has decreased by 9.4 percent, from 6.6 billion to 6.0 billion tons. The share of resources used derived from recycled waste increased by almost 50 percent between 2000 and 2020. And overall resource productivity (euro per kg of domestic material consumption) increased by nearly 35 percent over the same period. These gains were supported by both exogenous shocks, particularly the impact of the 2008 crisis on material intensive sectors such as construction, and structural change leading to an increasing share of relatively less material-intensive services in EU total gross value added.
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World Bank. 2022. Squaring the Circle: Policies from Europe’s Circular Economy Transition. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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