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Pressing Forward—Developments in the Transition Towards Sustainable Materials Management in EU Environmental Law

  • Thomas J. de RömphEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The European Union is experiencing a transition towards the Sustainable Material Management. Ultimately, radical changes are necessary to break down existing strong path-dependencies and lock-ins. Policy and legislation play important roles in this process, as they can either stimulate or obstruct such developments. A variety of constructive policies has been launched in the past fifteen years that form the basis for legislative action to stimulate the sustainable use of materials. Despite numerous fruitful attempts to adjust particular laws, the legal framework as a whole is still lagging behind policy. Nevertheless, several developments in law-making and law can be identified that enhance the legal transition, i.e.: a strategic approach is being adopted, the Better Regulation Package is intended to create coherence and simplicity, and the entire life-cycle of a material is increasingly emphasized in legislation. Especially the latter development, however, must be further deepened and better applied to press forward. In this regard, opportunities lie in the alignment of legislation, the integration of policies, the broadening of the scope of laws and the introduction of novel concepts into the legal framework. All things considered, the European Union has just started its legal transition. The revised Circular Economy Package, including its legislative proposal, might accelerate the transition.

Keywords

EU environmental law Sustainable materials management Circular economy package Life-cycle perspective Better regulation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This chapter is based on a paper that is included in the conference proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of the International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS), held on 10–12 July 2015 in Geelong (Australia). In addition, it must be seen in the context of the Policy Research Centre on Sustainable Materials Management, which is a multi-disciplinary consortium coordinated by the Flemish Public Waste Agency (OVAM).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of European and International LawKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Government and LawHasselt UniversityHasseltBelgium

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