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Call: Circular Economy, resources from Waste, Air, Water, Soil, Noise, Chemicals, Bauhaus

Acronym LIFE-ENV
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"LIFE - sub-programme “Circular Economy and Quality of Life” "

The specific objectives of the sub-programme “Circular Economy and Quality of Life” are:

  • to develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches for reaching the objectives of Union legislation and policy on environment, and to contribute to the knowledge base and, where relevant, to the application of best practices;
  • to support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union legislation and policy on environment, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular through enhancing capacities of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society;
  • to catalyse the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy-related solutions for implementing relevant Union legislation and policy on environment, by replicating results, integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.

This sub-programme aims at facilitating the transition toward a sustainable, circular, energy-efficient and climate-resilient economy, a toxic-free environment and at protecting, restoring and improving the quality of the environment. It will contribute to the relevant European Union priorities by:

  • reducing resource consumption and facilitating the transition toward a sustainable, circular, toxic-free, energy-efficient and climate-resilient environment;
  • developing circular systems, in line with the new Circular Economy Action Plan and reflecting its focus on sustainable products, material and energy intensive sectors and circular business models for value retention. Specific consideration will be given to projects from EU outermost regions and islands.
  • bringing down waste generation in line with the Waste Framework Directive and the reduction of hazardous waste in view of the EU’s commitment under the Basel Convention;
  • improving waste management with respect to the collection and storage of waste, recovery options and end-of-life disposal, including in islands, remote coastal or terrestrial areas, and Outermost Regions where waste management faces specific challenges;
  • reducing emissions of pollutants to air and seas, and ensuring clean air and seas for EU citizens in line with the EU acquis and the objectives of the zero pollution action plan;
  • achieving and maintaining a good status of the Union’s water bodies;
  • ensuring clean surface water and ground-water, in sufficient quantities for human and other species, including by increasing efficiency of water use;
  • reducing production, use and emissions of hazardous chemicals as well as reducing the exposure of humans and the environment to those chemicals;
  • promoting the development, commercialisation and uptake of safe and sustainable-by-design substances, materials and products;
  • diminishing exposure to harmful noise levels;
  • protecting the quality of EU soil, preventing soil degradation and increasing resilience of soils to climate threats and combat desertification through sustainable practices of soil and land management, remediating from soil pollution and enhancing the capacity to improve water quality through reduced nitrate leakage and to reduce emissions through carbon storage and preventing and mitigating soil sealing.

The available budget will be used to finance mainly SAPs, Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) and OAs focusing on the following:

  • Circular economy, including recovery of resources from waste, to accelerate the transition towards a circular, climate-neutral sustainable and toxic-free environment, where:
    • the value of products, materials and resources is maximised and maintained in the economy for as long as possible;
    • the manufacture and use of products is sustainable and;
    • the generation of waste and the presence of harmful substances is minimised.

This includes actions on products which are safe and sustainable by design, on circularand sustainable production and consumption as well as actions to increase repair, reuse,remanufacturing and recycling of materials and products. It includes sustainabletechnologies, tools and approaches that are developed within the Sustainable BlueEconomy scope, such as the improved recyclability of offshore renewable energyinfrastructures or repair/reuse of fishing nets and fisheries/aquaculture by-products ( scales, shells, etc.).

It contains also actions to support the development of circular economy business models and shorter and more diversified supply chain systems that minimise environmental impact and reduce external dependency. These should be based on comprehensive measures targeting the whole life-cycle of products and materials.

On recovery of resources from waste, it comprises actions in line with the waste hierarchy to prevent waste, to increase product repair and reuse, to improve sorting and decontamination of waste streams, and to increase safe and high-quality recycling of materials and products on the basis of robust and widespread separate collection systems.

In light of their high resource use and their circularity potential, key product value chains such as textiles, chemicals (including plastics), construction and buildings, electronics and information and communication technologies (ICT), and batteries and vehicles, will receive specific attention with actions to be implemented in all stages of the relevant life cycles and involving all relevant stakeholders.

  • Environment and health: sustainable management based on long term protection of natural resources and raw materials, environmental friendly production of goods and provision of services with a view to eliminating, preventing or minimising the adverse effects and negative impacts on the health and well-being of Union citizens, and improving the quality of their lives, as well as on the environment and its marine andterrestrial ecosystems, including:
    • Water and seas. The protection and improvement of groundwater and surface water quality and the prevention and elimination of water and marine pollutants in view of achieving and maintaining a good chemical and ecological status of all the Union’s water bodies, including wetlands, the marine environment, and the active safeguard of water quantity as well as the reduction of all the related pressures;
    • Air & Noise. The protection of air and the improvement of air quality through theprevention and/or reduction of air pollutants and noise, especially in the urbanenvironment;
    • Soil. The restoration, remediation, protection and improvement of soil health, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to provide ecosystem services, in particular to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitats and to prevent soil loss;
    • Chemicals management. A more sustainable use of chemicals substances and mixtures, on their own and in articles and final products (including e.g. pesticides, fertilisers, antimicrobials and nanomaterials), better information on chemical content of final products, accidents prevention and related informed purchase, including fostering the interlink of chemicals risk management, circularity of materials and climate change.
  • Environment governance projects to incentive behavioural change, which will support the implementation of the European Green Deal, capacity building at all levels, including for civil society, mainstreaming environmental objectives, circular and resource efficiency actions in relevant sectors, improvement of the knowledge base on the environment, including the greening of investments, environment monitoring, accounting and reporting and contributing to policy monitoring, assessment and ex-post evaluation.
  • The New European Bauhaus (NEB) overarching initiative. This will be an environmental, economic and cultural project to combine design, sustainability, accessibility and affordability in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. This initiative will consider as well nature and biodiversity elements.
Link Link to Programme
Circular Economy, resources from Waste, Air, Water, Soil, Noise, Chemicals, Bauhaus
Description of call
"Circular Economy, resources from Waste, Air, Water, Soil, Noise, Chemicals, Bauhaus"


The aim is to facilitate the transition toward a sustainable, circular, toxic-free, energy-efficient/climate-resilient economy and toward a toxic-free environment as well as to protect, restore and improve the quality of the environment.

The specific objective is to cover one or more of the following topics:

  1. Circular Economy and Waste
    • Recovery of Resources from Waste (implementation of innovative solutions to support value-added recycled materials; implementation of innovative solutions for the identification, tracking, separation, prevention and decontamination of waste containing hazardous substances, to enable value-added recycling of the treated waste and safe disposal of the hazardous substances or reducing the scale of the problem within the framework of the project)
    • Circular Economy and the Environment (implementation of business and consumption models or solutions to support value chains, particularly the key product value chains set out in the new EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy, aiming at reducing or preventing resource use and waste)
  2. Air
    • Air quality legislation and the NEC Directive
    • Industrial Emissions Directive

The thematic priority “Air” focuses on the implementation of air quality legislation and a comprehensive approach to related urban, industrial and rural environmental problems. Effective implementation of clean air legislation forms an essential contribution to ‘a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment' announced by the Commission in the European Green Deal and related initiatives. Air pollution remains the most serious environmental health problem in Europe, with a mortality rate more than ten times that from traffic accidents, and it also has a significant impact on ecosystems. Projects should refer to reducing air pollutants, particularly PM, NOx, and/or ammonia. If reducing emissions of CO2 is the primary objective, the project should be submitted under the sub-programme for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is a key instrument for pollution prevention and control from large point sources. Experience with implementation of the IED has allowed for identifying additional needs in terms of public information and the introduction of emerging techniques.

  1. Water
    • Water quality & quantity
    • Marine and coastal water management
    • Water services

One of the aims of the new Green Deal is to restore natural functions of ground and surface water. This is essential to preserve and restore biodiversity in lakes, rivers, wetlands, marine ecosystem, and estuaries, and to prevent and limit damage from floods. Implementing the Farm to Fork’ Strategy will contribute to reducing pollution from excess nutrients. In addition, the Commission will propose measures to address pollution from urban runoff and from new or particularly harmful sources of pollution such as micro plastics and hazardous chemicals, including pharmaceuticals. There is also a need to address the combined effects of different pollutants.

  1. Soil

Contribute to the soil-related commitments set in the EU Biodiversity Strategy towards 2030 (implementation of actions to protect the quality of EU’s soil, including innovative actions; restoration, protection and improvement of soil health and prevention of soil degradation including soil loss also through innovative actions)

  1. Noise

Under this heading, priority will be given to projects in urban areas in order to improve the situation for a maximum number of persons.

  1. Chemicals
  • Prevention and reduction of the impact on the environment or human health, of hazardous substances and
  • prevention and reduction of the impact on the environment or human health of chemical production and use across the value chain
  • Digital innovations for advanced tools, methods and models, and data analysis capacities to also move away from animal testing
  • Implementation of safe- and sustainable-by-design solutions, including through the development, commercialisation, deployment and uptake of safe- and sustainable-by-design substances, material and product.
  • Facilitation of the implementation of the Seveso III Directive (Directive 2012/18/EU) on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances through deployment of particularly cost-effective methodological tools for carrying out human health and environmental risk mapping, and for addressing domino effects.
  1. A new European Bauhaus

On January 2021, the Commission launched the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative, an environmental, economic and cultural project to combine design, sustainability, accessibility and affordability in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. There is a potential for supporting this initiative under LIFE Circular economy and quality of life and LIFE Nature and Biodiversity.

In particular, the following project proposals that contribute to the implementation of the New European Bauhaus initiative will be given priority for LIFE support:

  • Proposals focussed on a holistic reduction40 of environmental impacts of new buildings;
  • Proposals on circular districts involving creation of circular value chains to boost urban economies whilst producing urban and territorial regeneration.
  • Proposals for maintaining or restoring biodiversity that contribute to the implementation of the New European Bauhaus initiative. This may include, for example, demonstrating biodiversity friendly practise for the energetic isolation of buildings, innovative architectural approaches for wildlife-friendly buildings, etc.


The present Call topic targets Standard Action Projects (SAP) aimed at achieving the objectives of the Circular Economy and Quality of Life sub-programme. SAP are defined in section 2 (Type of Action) while the general objectives of the sub-programme in section 1 (‘Circular Economy and Quality of Life’).

SAP focussing exclusively on environmental governance are excluded from this Call topic and covered by the related Call topic named LIFE-2021-SAP-ENV-GOV.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Education and Training Centres, Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme (participating countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • the coordinator must be established in an eligible country
Project Partner Details

Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action (see work programme).

Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons34.

EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0537). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Project duration min 24 months
Project duration max 120 months
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • detailed budget table (mandatory excel template available in the Submission System)
    • participant information
  • optional annexes:
    • Letters of support
    • Cofinancing declarations
    • Maps
    • Description of sites
    • Other annexes (for example: Lifecycle analysis, Business plans etc.)

Page limit - Part B: 120 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

Topic budget: EUR 95,420,656.00

Indicative range of project budgets: EUR 2.00 to 10.00 Mio.

Estimated numner of projects to be funded: 50 projects

Funding rate for Standard Action Projects (SAPs): Maximum 60%

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details

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