The aim of the project was to explore how the objectives of a sustainable circular economy can be integrated into environmental product policy. Building on interviews and workshops with international and Finnish experts, the multidisciplinary project identified and examined in detail four areas of product policy in the rapidly evolving regulatory environment of the European Union: 1) the Ecodesign Directive, 2) extended producer responsibility (EPR), 3) product service systems (PSSs), and 4) environmental product claims.
The review of the policy instruments in, e.g., the workshops showed that there is still room for improvement in existing product policy instruments, yet also a clear need for new instruments. In addition to a wide range of recommendations on individual policy instruments, the project proposes cross-cutting measures: more systematic ex-post evaluations of the impacts of policy instruments, and attention to the coherence of the numerous and varied instruments, national policies, information systems, and environmental impacts. The circular economy is only a means to an end; environmental and other sustainability considerations must remain at the heart of product policy.