The AGEC law and European regulations

The AGEC law and European regulations

The circular economy at the heart of national and European strategies

The circular economy at the heart of national and European strategies

10th August 2023

The circular economy at the heart of national and European strategies

Sustainability and more particularly the circular economy are at the heart not only of French regulations but also of European regulations.

Indeed, if in 2015, France adopted the law relating to the energy transition for green growth which devoted a whole section to the circular economy, the European Commission adopted the first Circular economy plan.

In December 2019, the Commission presented the Green Deal for Europe, which contains a commitment to climate neutrality by 2050. It sets out the main lines of work to achieve this objective for which the 27 Member States of the EU have all signed. To achieve this, they have committed to reducing their emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

This pact reinforces the will of the European Union and its States to include consumption and production methods in a circular approach. Thus, new regulations and directives are promulgated according to European and national agendas.

It is in this context that in February 2020, France released Law No. 2020-105 on the fight against waste and the circular economy, known as the AGEC Law. Just one month later, in March 2020, Europe enacts its New Circular Economy Action Plan For a cleaner and more competitive Europe. Since then, decrees, laws and also regulatory proposals have punctuated the regulatory agenda to meet all objectives

How does the AGEC law fit into the regulatory calendar?

European and French regulations are promulgated independently, each responds to the challenges of the circular economy on its own scale and deploys its tools.

Transcript of instructions

The AGEC law directly transcribes the European directives by some of its requirements. For example, DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/904 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 5 June 2019 relating to the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment has guided in particular the axis "getting out of disposable plastic" of the AGEC law with, for example, the ban on plastic consumables (cotton swabs, straws, covers, etc.) in January 2021.

Anticipation of European regulations

But the requirements of this regulation are also an anticipation of European regulations that are part of the new action plan for a future circular economy.

Article 13 corresponds to the obligation to inform the consumer about the environmental qualities and characteristics of products placed on the French market. It mainly applies to products covered by an extended chain of producer responsibility. Decree No. 2022-748 of April 29, 2022 taken pursuant to Article 13 provides the framework for the information to be communicated to the consumer by specifying which types of products are concerned and specifying which characteristics must be shared. It also prohibits the affixing of certain environmental claims on packaging. Meeting this obligation is an excellent first step in preparing for the European Green Claims Directive project.

Finally, article 16 indicates that Producers, importers, distributors or other marketers of electrical and electronic equipment communicate free of charge to the sellers of their products as well as to any person who requests it, a repairability index of this equipment as well as the parameters that made it possible to establish it. The proposal for the European “Right to Repair” Directive, which will bring new requirements on the repairability of products, therefore seems easier to understand after having implemented this repairability index.

Article 72 requires all producers to draw up and implement a prevention and eco-design plan aimed at reducing the use of non-renewable resources, increasing the use of recycled materials and increasing the recyclability of its products in processing facilities located on national territory. Complying with this obligation is therefore a good way to anticipate the proposal of Ecodesign Directive which will repeal the ErP 2009/125/EC directive.

Finally, if the constraints brought about by the AGEC law have required adaptation work on the part of companies and consumers, they will also have not only made it possible to include our economy in a more sustainable approach but also to anticipate the regulations to be come.

About the author
Anne-Sophie Quinquis
Chemical and environmental engineer
TÜV SÜD France


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