The transition towards a circular economy requires fundamental changes to production and consumption systems, going well beyond resource efficiency and recycling waste.Circular economy is a closed cycle covering each of the three areas: the supply and responsible choice of the producers, the demand and the consumer behaviour and the waste management. It is a model aiming at preserving and increasing the value of resources used in production and consumption, while reducing their impact on the environment, during the whole life cycle of the products. Circular economy has as its immediate objective an optimal management of all resources (material resources, energy sources, water and land use being the main issues). The objectives are to be pursued: create new opportunities for growth and economic performance while reducing resource use, boost the competitiveness and limit the environmental impacts of resource use.This change was recognized in Europe, with the European Commission’s Communication “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”, published in January 2011(COM(2011) 571). In the following years, many European Union and national public policies and programmes were designed and introduced in order to keep abreast of the profound changes the model of circular economy and society brings into our world. In order to successfully meet the EU's resource efficiency targets by 2030, the transition to a circular economy model should become a state priority.
The aim of this paper is to draw out the differences and similarities between the EU countries regarding the transition to a circular economy model and to assess progress on this basis.
Quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed for data collection and analysis: database research and analysis, descriptive statistics, cluster analysis.
The survey results indicate the presence of too much heterogeneity among EU countries in the transition to a circular economy. This suggests that, in parallel with private sector initiatives, public authorities should coordinate, support and promote environmental, economic and social changes leading to accelerate this transition.
circular economy, sustainable development, resource productivity, , waste managemenet, , cluster analysis