Which general policy recommendations can be made for implementing circular bioeconomy in the pilot areas?

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To address the challenges and opportunities identified for the pilot areas and facilitate the transition towards more sustainable biowaste management and bio -based products, the Biocircularcities partners elaborated 94 policy recommendations, gathered in a report “Policy recommendations for implementing circular bioeconomy in the pilot areas“.

The policy recommendations stem from a synthesis of the regulatory framework analysis of drivers and barriers combined with feedback from local stakeholders and international experts gathered during the BCC local Living Labs, Advisory Board Meetings and Peer Review Sessions, as well as relevant good practices and existing legislation in EU countries other than the pilot countries Bulgaria, Italy, and Spain.

30 of the policy recommendations included in the report are “general policy recommendations for all three pilot areas” which encompass broader principles and strategies that can be adapted and applied in other regions and value chains. They also include bioplastics, as they are a potential bio-based product in all three value chains. The main general policy recommendations per category are:

Data management

  • At EU level, introduce standardised guidelines for data collection and analysis for all types of organic waste (forestry residues, agro-industrial organic waste, separately collected biowaste, etc.).
  • At national and regional level, introduce into law annually updated, comprehensive, transparent, and freely accessible databases on municipal biowaste streams (quantity, quality, destination) using European standardised guidelines. Introduce the waste data flows into national electronic waste management systems to allow performance monitoring at national and regional level.

Organic waste treatment and sustainable biorefineries

  • At EU and national level, ensure planning security with regard to legal framework conditions andsubsidies, while at the same time phase out subsidies that are not consistent with the EU waste hierarchy and EU bioeconomy targets.
  • At regional level, introduce financial incentives (especially for SMEs) for technical improvements of existing treatment plants, the use of Best Available Technology (BAT) and investments for the construction of new (decentralised) biorefineries, giving preference to bio-based products according to the “cascading use of biomass principle”, i.e., biochemicals are preferred over bioenergy.
  • At national level, build capacity in the municipalities responsible for issuing permits and streamline good practices to speed up the permitting process for new biorefineries

Market incentives for bio-based products

  • At national, regional, and local level, support Green Public Procurement according to the EU guidance for bio-based products in procurement.
  • At EU level, introduce financial incentives for the local production and marketing of bio-based materials (e.g., biochemicals, bioplastics, compost) and bioenergy based on carbon footprint assessment.
  • At EU or national level, introduce VAT reductions for bio-based products (e.g., biochemicals) and other environmentally friendly products and services produced in the EU compared to fossil-based alternatives (integrated approach) and products from outside the EU.

Public awareness and support

  • At regional and local level, finance well-developed, continuous environmental education programmes on food waste prevention, separate collection, and anti-littering.
  • At regional and local level, monitor the success of awareness raising campaigns using common indicators for municipal solid waste management.

Stakeholder involvement

  • At regional or local level, promote the participative approach by enshrining stakeholder involvement in legislation for the assessment of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of decisions such as the construction of a new (bio)waste treatment plant, or the modification of the collection system.
  • At EU and regional level, promote technology and innovation clusters and transregional exchange of experiences and good practices through the creation of specific networking platforms and the organisation of round tables between policy makers, researchers, and market players with a focus on supporting innovative start-ups to address all relevant aspects of new value chains.

Discover all the 94 policy recommendations in the reportPolicy recommendations for implementing circular bioeconomy in the pilot areas“!