The European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report on Tuesday, saying that smarter products and services were crucial to the shift towards a more resource-efficient circular economy.
The report, which focused on how emerging production and consumption trends can enhance or hamper more efficient material use, was published at the World Circular Economy Forum from June 5 to 7 in Helsinki, Finland.
It also emphasized that smarter product design, the development of related support services and recycling infrastructure were key to circular business models.
According to EEA, the circular economy reduces the need for new materials and energy and can cut down carbon emissions. By contrast, the make-use-dispose model of traditional production leads to growing environmental problems.
The EEA report stressed that improving the ability to reuse and refurbish goods could offer significant environmental and economic benefits by encouraging innovations in the design of less environmentally harmful products and product-based services, such as 3D printing technology.
The report also said that much still depended on governance and financial incentives to turn the most promising niche activities into mainstream economic models.