Circular economy

If we want to save our planet, we need standards to help us move towards a circular economy.
Circular economy

Eliminating waste in a circular economy

Our natural resources are gradually becoming depleted. What’s more, extracting and using these raw materials is enormously damaging to the environment. To keep our planet liveable, there is only one solution: a circular economy without waste, in which we optimally use and reuse raw materials and products.

A nice theory, but how do you put it into practice? With standards! The Belgian standards committee NBN/I323 is working hard to develop international and European standards for circular economy.

What is a circular economy?

The goal of a circular economy is to reject throwaway society and opt for sustainability. This is achieved by sharing, renting, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. This extends the life cycle of products and minimises waste.

Why is this important?

The production of materials we use every day is responsible for almost half of CO2 emissions. Global players are therefore urged to make their activities more circular.

The transition to a circular economy brings many benefits:

  • It's better for the environment: we put less pressure on our ecosystems by using precious resources more efficiently, reducing greenhouse gases, managing waste streams better and making smarter use of energy.
  • It increases your competitiveness and turnover: measures such as waste prevention, eco-design and recycling can provide European companies with net savingsof600 billion euros or 8% of total annual turnover.
  • It provides innovation, economic growth and job creation: in the EU, 580,000 jobs could be created in areas such as maintenance, repair, recycling, research or product development.

What are circular economy standards committees working on?

Experts join forces in standards committees to develop standards related to, among other things:

  • Circular economy - Guidance on the transition of business models and value networks
  • Circular economy - Terminology, Principles and Guidance for Implementation
  • Circular economy - Measuring and assessing circularity
  • Product Circularity Data Sheet (PCDS).

On top of that, European standards are also being established under regulations related to the Circular Economy Action Plan.


Would you like to help develop standards yourself? But would you rather learn more about it first? Then follow the Webinar "Standardisation - The Basics". There we will give you more insight of what standards development is.

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Which circular economy standards committees are there and when do they meet?

  • The international standards committee ISO/TC323 and the European standards committee CEN/TC 473 are developing standards that help organizations concretely adhere to the circular economy and comply with European regulations.
  • ISO/TC323 meets once or twice a year. Next meeting: 05/2024.
  • CEN/TC 473 meets once a year. Next meeting: November 28-29, 2023.
  • The Belgian committee NBN/I323 closely follows and contributes to the developments of ISO/TC 323 and CEN/TC 473. Anyone in Belgium can join.
  • NBN/I323 meets twice a year. Next meetings: 28/02/2024 and 21/10/2024.

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