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Call: Circular Economy and Quality of Life

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 and Quality of Life
Description of call
"Circular Economy and Quality of Life"


The Commission has identified some specific needs to be addressed through dedicated calls (the so-called Other Actions (OAs). They include, amongst others, specific projects addressing specific needs for the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation.

Based on article 11 of the LIFE Regulation 2021/783 the LIFE Multi Annual Work Programme 2021-2024 (COM(2021) 4997 final), includes the possibility to finance each year a limited number of specific projects designed to support specific needs for the development and implementation of Union environment policy and legislation.

For reference, the LIFE projects, called in the past LIFE Regulation preparatory projects, are now called specific projects addressing ad hoc Legislative and Policy Priorities (PLP).

Point 4.1.4 of the Multi Annual Work Programme indicates that under the so called Other Actions, additional projects responding to the Union legislative and policy priorities could be determined on annual basis, following a consultation with Member States.

Once a year the Commission makes an inventory of the specific needs regarding the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation that need to be addressed during the following years and identifies among them the needs that could be addressed by specific projects.

Before launching this annual call for proposals, the Member States received a draft list of the identified specific needs that could be addressed by those projects and were asked to comment. Based on these comments, the final list was established.


The proposed project under the topic LIFE 2021-PREP-Environment shall aim to address the following specific need identified by the Member States in the sub-programme Circular Economy and Quality of LIFE.

  • Improving traceability of exports of used textiles/textile waste and Improving recycling of textile waste within the EU.

Expected Impact:

The project should provide better understanding and knowledge of the current export of used textile/textile waste from the EU, as well as to provide suggestions/recommendations on how to improve the transparency and sustainability of such trade flows. Furthermore, increased amounts of separately collected textile waste are expected because of the Waste Framework Directive’s obligation to separately collect textiles as of 2025.

Some recycling technologies already exist but these are currently not developed in a scale sufficient to deal with the large amounts and variety of textiles waste expected. A stronger collaboration and interaction between actors involved in collection, sorting and recycling will be critical at local level (hubs). Moreover, coordination activities at EU level would provide further support in order to streamline capacity building and ensure effective complementarity of specialised competences in recycling.

Furthermore, increased amounts of separately collected textile waste are expected because of the Waste Framework Directive’s obligation to separately collect textiles as of 2025.

The project should look at two aspects: exports and recycling.


The project should develop technical criteria to better distinguish textile waste from non-waste used textiles:

  • at the stage of discarding textiles by their holder in order to facilitate a separate collection system that ensures as a priority separate collection for re-use and repurposing and secondly separate collection for preparation for re-use and recycling.
  • at the stage of sorting of collected textiles waste to facilitate re-use and repurposing;
  • at the stage of shipments, including exports of textiles.
  • The project should provide a detailed mapping of ongoing shipments of used textiles and textile waste from the EU.
  • The project will provide a detailed analysis of the impacts of such shipments on third countries (economic, social, environmental)
  • The project will propose suggestions/recommendations on how to improve the tracing of such flows.
  • The project will propose suggestions/recommendations on how to limit the impact of such shipments on third countries


  • The pilot project should aim to facilitate the development and consolidation of separate collection and recycling capacities for a wide range of textile waste and the establishment of coordination framework in order to ensure cross-border synergies between textile recycling centres and benefit several Member States.
  • The pilot project should aim at (a) running tests of technical feasibility of specific recycling technologies, and (b) testing feasibility of organizational structures (business interactions between textile collectors, recyclers and users/marketers of recycled content fibres).
  • The project shall assess the (environmental, economic, social) impact of the proposed pilot project.
  • The project should identify which combination of treatment technologies could be used.
  • The project will provide recommendations for the transferability of the pilot project, identifying main barriers and opportunities identified during the pilot project of setting up of sorting and recycling.
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Green Technologies & Green Deal, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional 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.

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

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 (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
    • letters of support from competent authorities, if available
    • other annexes, if available.

Page limit - Part B: 50 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

The available call budget is EUR 1,000,000.

Funding rate: up to 90%

Estimated number of projects to be funded: 1
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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