Filip Radović, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency

Circular Economy

The Circular economy represents an approach that transforms the function of an economy's resources. Apart from natural resources, in accordance with circular economy principles, the entirety of generated waste becomes a newly created resource. Waste from one factory becomes the raw material for some other manufacturing process

Filip Radović

The circular economy represents an alternative model to the linear economy – led by the principle ‘take, make, use, discard’ – primarily with the aim of protecting natural resources. Observing global consumption of energy, we see that it doubled between 1800 and 1900, but then increased twentyfold over the course of the 20th century. According to projections, an increase of an additional 50 per cent can be expected by 2030. In addition to this, food consumption increased by 57%, while the amount of packaging disposed of in landfill sites increased by 47%.

The negative environmental and social impacts of this type of consumption are felt increasingly in Europe, which is why the European Commission adopted a package of four laws related to the Circular Economy, with which new legally binding targets and deadlines are established for recycling waste and limiting waste disposed of in landfill sites.

Managing waste more efficiently is the first step towards a circular economy, in which it is necessary for all products and materials to be recycled or used more than once. This legal framework sets out very ambitious targets for recycling and waste disposal in the EU. The fact is that only 40% of waste is recycled in Europe. As an example, the U.S. Environmental Agency report says that over 140 million mobile phones were discarded rous fractions of municipal waste should be established by 2022, with biological waste seperated by 2023 and textiles by 2025. It is estimated that the EU can save billions of euros in this way. The transition to a circular economy is inevitable for Serbia, primarily due to the need to adopt EU regulations in this field. It is estimated that introducing a circular economy to Serbia could create 30,000 jobs, as well as increasing the competitiveness of local businesses on foreign markets. Applying a circular economy will also be felt indirectly in other segments of environmental protection, primarily in preventing waste accumulating and ensuring its reuse. Proper waste management will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around four per cent annually. In implementing the principle of the circular economy, the role of businesses is the most important and they will have to bear the greatest burden of its introduction, but will simultaneously be the first to see the positive effects of this system. in 2010, 90% of which ended up in landfills, despite it being known that mobile phones contain very valuable metals – copper, gold, gallium and others – that can be recycled and reused for the same purposes.

The EU’s new Circular Economy package of laws will help member states improve recycling efforts. These regulations introduce significantly stricter rules for recycling waste, particularly packaging waste, but also for calculating recyclability levels, which will help better track actual progress in accordance with the principles of the Circular Economy.

It is estimated that introducing a circular economy to Serbia could create 30,000 jobs, as well as increasing the competitiveness of local businesses on foreign markets

A recycling rate of 65% of total packaging waste should be reached by 2025, then 70% by 2030. For paper and cardboard packaging, the level of recycling should reach 85% by 2030, while for plastic this percentage is 55%, though it is envisaged that all plastics produced be 100% recyclable.

In EU countries, separate collection is already an obligation for paper and paperboard, glass, metals and plastics, but that has also been extended to some other types of waste, and the separate collection of dangerous fractions of municipal waste should be established by 2022, with biological waste seperated by 2023 and textiles by 2025. It is estimated that the EU can save billions of euros in this way.

The transition to a circular economy is inevitable for Serbia, primarily due to the need to adopt EU regulations in this field. It is estimated that introducing a circular economy to Serbia could create 30,000 jobs, as well as increasing the competitiveness of local businesses on foreign markets.

Applying a circular economy will also be felt indirectly in other segments of environmental protection, primarily in preventing waste accumulating and ensuring its reuse. Proper waste management will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around four per cent annually.

In implementing the principle of the circular economy, the role of businesses is the most important and they will have to bear the greatest burden of its introduction, but will simultaneously be the first to see the positive effects of this system.