How to navigate circular challenges: Strategies for the Central and Eastern Europe region

Adoption of the circular economy presents both opportunities and obstacles for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. In this article, we will examine the unique challenges faced by businesses and countries in implementing circular business models, with an emphasis on country-specific strategies and solutions tailored to Bulgaria and other Central and Eastern European countries.


With its robust industrial sector, the country sees the circular economy as a catalyst for redefining resource management. Initiatives such as the "Circular Poland 2050" roadmap set ambitious targets for waste reduction and recycling. However, challenges remain, including the need for significant investment in waste infrastructure and raising public awareness of circular practices.


In Hungary, sustainability takes center stage, with green procurement practices leading the way. The government's emphasis on sustainable procurement is driving demand for green products and driving innovation in the supply chain. Despite progress, fragmented enforcement and limited access to finance remain obstacles to circular progress.


Movements such as "Zero Waste Romania" are gaining momentum, enabling local communities to adopt circular principles. These initiatives highlight the importance of bottom-up approaches to promote circularity. Despite regulatory support, challenges such as inadequate infrastructure and informal waste practices persist.

Czech Republic

The national circular economy strategy of the Czech Republic prioritizes sustainable production and efficient use of resources. Legislative measures, including waste management plans and extended producer responsibility schemes, provide a basis for circular initiatives. However, modernizing infrastructure and fostering cooperation between stakeholders are crucial to advancing circularity.


Bulgaria is increasingly aware of the potential of the circular economy for achieving sustainable development. Efforts such as the National Circular Economy Roadmap aim to accelerate the transition to circular practices. Challenges include the need for improved waste management infrastructure, improved recycling capabilities and the promotion of circular innovation across sectors.


Slovakia's focus on sustainable production and waste management is driving circular economy initiatives. Government support for circular innovation and entrepreneurship creates business opportunities. Challenges include the need for greater policy coherence and investment in circular infrastructure.


Latvia uses its strategic location and natural resources to achieve circular economy goals. Initiatives to promote circular design and eco-innovation promote a culture of sustainability. However, challenges such as limited circuit infrastructure and the need to develop skills create barriers to widespread adoption.


Lithuania's commitment to circularity is reflected in its circular economy development program, which emphasizes resource efficiency and waste prevention. Circular business models supported by government incentives drive sustainable growth. Challenges include transitioning traditional industries to circular practices and aligning policies with EU directives.


As the CEE region charts its course towards a circular economy, addressing various challenges while seizing opportunities is paramount. Adapting strategies to the specific needs of each country, including Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and others, is critical to realizing the full potential of circularity. By fostering cooperation, stimulating innovation and implementing targeted policies, the Central and Eastern European region can pave the way for sustainable growth and prosperity.


  1. European Commission, “Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe,” https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm
  2. Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment, “Circular Poland 2050,” https://www.gov.pl/web/klimat/circular-poland-2050
  3. Hungarian Government, “National Waste Management Plan 2019-2024,” https://net.jogtar.hu/jogszabaly?docid=A1900156.KOR
  4. Zero Waste Romania, “About Us,” https://zerowaste.ro/despre-noi/
  5. Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, “National Circular Economy Strategy,” https://www.mzp.cz/en/circular_economy
  6. Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, “National Circular Economy Roadmap,” https://www.moew.government.bg/bg/news/142/795/18535
  7. Slovak Ministry of Environment, “Circular Economy Strategy of the Slovak Republic,” https://www.minzp.sk/circular-economy-strategy-of-the-slovak-republic/
  8. Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, “Circular Economy in Latvia,” https://www.varam.gov.lv/eng/ministry/structure/departments/departments/environmental_department/circular_economy/
  9. Lithuanian Ministry of the Environment, “Circular Economy Development Program 2021-2027,” https://www.am.lt/VI/index.php?-1098821428