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France: Publication of the Roadmap for a Circular Economy

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Environment


After five months of consultations, the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition published on 23 April 2018 the Roadmap for a Circular Economy: 50 measures to initiate the transition to a more virtuous economy.

These measures are designed to produce better, consume better and improve the management our wastes, through the mobilization of all stakeholders, including businesses. The general objectives seem relatively ambitious:

  • Reduce the French consumption of resources : reduce by 30% the consumption of resources in relation to GDP by 2030 compared to 2010
  • Reduce by 50% the amount of non-hazardous waste landfilled in 2025 compared to 2010
  • Tend to reach 100% of recycled plastics in 2025
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: save an additional 8 million tons of CO2 each year through plastic recycling
  • Create up to 300,000 additional jobs, including new type of jobs, in this sector

We will focus our attention on measures that will have an impact on the waste sector. These measures are largely inspired by the Vernier report on the Future of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), published on March 14, 2018. Among the propositions made by Jacques Vernier, president of the Advisory board for prevention of technological risks (CSPRT), it is interesting to look at what measures are endorsed by the Roadmap (i), and what propositions are left aside (ii).

(i) The influence of the report on the future of extended producer responsibility scheme

The influence is clear since out of the 38 proposals made by Jacques Vernier, 22 were included in the Roadmap for a Circular Economy.

The creation of new EPR sectors is envisaged for toys, sports, leisure and DIY articles and building wastes.

The government is also proposing the extension of certain existing EPR. The household packaging sector would be extended to catering packaging (coffee, hotels, restaurants), the specific diffuse waste sector, which for the moment only concerns household waste, would be extended to wastes from craftsmen, while the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) would now concern motorcycles, carts and quads.

The deployment of new sectors is not excluded, the roadmap mentioning in particular the deployment of an EPR-like system for cigarettes.

Financial penalties would be imposed to eco-organisations if objectives are not achieved.

The regime applicable to the EPR sectors would be modified, in order to streamline the regulatory framework. While the Vernier report advocates dividing the volume of legislative and regulatory texts by five, the roadmap does not specify what simplifications are envisaged.

(ii) The proposals of Vernier Report that have been left aside in the Roadmap

The creation of a new EPR sector for edible oils was not retained, as for used motor oils.

While the government wants to strengthen the fight against ELV trafficking - more than 500 000 ELV being illegally processed and exported each year - the creation of a "return premium" for ELV and the prohibition of the sale of spare parts by individuals are also not included in the roadmap.

The Vernier report suggested the creation of an independent administrative authority who could control and apply sanctions to eco-organisms. This proposal, presented as a flagship measure, was set aside.

The implementation of these measures is expected to impact many regulatory texts, but at this stage the next steps have not been clearly announced by the Government.