Infographics demonstrate circular economy benefits

The EU’s circular economy package can deliver more jobs and a better deal for customers, but only if it improves design standards and promotes demand for reused products and recycled materials, says think tank Green Alliance.



Drawing on lessons from the UK, Green Alliance today (19 August) publishes a series of infographics, ‘The social benefits of a circular economy: lessons from the UK’, that show how better resource policies can support net jobs in areas of high unemployment, and deliver longer-lasting products. The think tank says that to realise these benefits across Europe, the new circular economy package must include measures to promote reuse and repair, especially eco-design and producer responsibility requirements that encourage reuse and demand for recycled materials.

Jonny Hazell, senior policy advisor at Green Alliance, said: “As the world’s largest single market, Europe is in a unique position to secure the supply of products that are fit for the economy of the future. The circular economy package could prove the foundation of a harmonised market in circular economy goods and services, provided it delivers products that are long-lasting, easy to repair and recycle. Such a market would generate employment all round the EU and improve the competitiveness of European businesses. As importantly, it will deliver savings for households and reduce the global impact of European consumption.”

Research in the UK has shown that a more circular economy can address labour market problems that are common to many European countries.

Specifically, the Green Alliance infographics indicate:

  1. 1. the circular economy has the potential to create 205,000 jobs in the UK alone, bringing down unemployment in regions where it is especially high, with 54,000 net jobs at all skill levels;
  2. 2. reuse and parts harvesting are more valuable than recycling, with a secondhand phone being worth £290 if it is reused and £170 if it is harvested for parts, but only £0.72 if it is recycled;
  3. 3. reuse and remanufacturing support 8-20 jobs per thousand tonnes of product, compared to 5-10 per thousand tonnes of material recycled and just 0.1 per thousand tonnes of material landfilled.

Find out more about the EU Circular Economy Package consultation or view the Green Alliance infographics.