Over the last decades, the European recycling industries have drastically evolved by modernizing and constantly innovating to turn more waste streams into new resources. By doing so, the sector has contributed to the development of new technologies and automated equipment made in Europe and exported around the globe. The European regulatory framework has accompanied these changes thanks to ambitious targets and a meaningful waste hierarchy. However, the recycling sector continues to be subject to a complex and ever-growing EU regulatory framework, which affects its activities. To ensure a competitive European recycling sector, which is part of a global industry, EuRIC advocates clear, effective and smart European policies which:
- Incentivise recycling across the value chains;
- Minimise regulatory burdens on recyclers, in particular on SMEs;
- Guarantee an open and fair competition within Europe and with the world to foster a genuine internal recycling market.
EuRIC also advocates positive measures to ensure a consistent implementation of existing legislation across Europe.
Top 5 Priorities of the Recycling Industry for the Period 2019 -2024
By turning waste into secondary raw materials and reducing Europe’s dependency on primary materials, the recycling industry plays a vital role in the circular economy. In addition, recycling saves a substantial amount of CO2 and energy. Recycling is thus a key sector to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent, a key objective of the European Green Deal highlighted by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission. Last but not least, recycling is an inclusive industry providing local jobs which rely on a variety of qualifications and cannot be outsourced. Thus, recycling can significantly contribute to Europe’s re-industrialisation by boosting circular value chains. Hence, EuRIC representing the European Recycling Industry, calls for the completion of a competitive internal market for recycling rewarding circular value chains in Europe and beyond, through a set of 5 key measures.
EuRIC Position on the Revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation
One of the founding assumptions of the circular economy is that wastes are resources. Circular material flows require waste and secondary raw materials to circulate at the pace of businesses to be recycled and used to manufacture new semi-finished and finished products.
The Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 (WSR) causes substantial administrative burdens due to overly complex and outdated procedures which make it sometimes impossible for recycling companies to ship secondary raw materials from one EU-Member State to another. Incidentally, it fosters linear material flows as it is, from an administrative procedure, much easier to import raw materials mined or harvested outside Europe with much lower standards than to ship waste for material recovery within the EU.
In line with the goals of the European Green Deal to build an internal market for secondary raw materials, it is much needed to alleviate obstacles to circular value chains in Europe and beyond as well as to boost the market for secondary raw materials. EuRIC therefore calls for a well-functioning market for the shipment of secondary raw materials and proposes in order to do so to improve and simplify the notification procedure as laid down in Article 4 et seq. as well as the Annex VII procedure as laid down in Article 18 et seq. Harmonized electronic waste shipment procedures throughout the EU should become the norm and gradually replace paper based procedures. In doing so, a transition period might be required to ensure that Member States systems are rendered fully interoperable and that operators have the necessary time to adapt.
EuRIC call for Recycled Plastic Content in Cars
By turning waste into valuable resources and hence saving massive amounts of GHG and energy, plastics recycling is at the core of the circular economy. Automotive plastics’ recyclers have developed during the last decades state-of-art post-treatment technologies to efficiently separate and then recycle plastics from end-of-life vehicles (ELV); recycled plastics that once compounded again in new vehicles, meet similar performance standards as those compounds from virgin polymers
In this substantiated call for recycled content of plastics in new cars, EuRIC outlines the state of play of plastics in the automotive sector and highlights the need for an increase content of recycled plastics thanks to targets to be set in the ELV Directive currently under revision.
Implementation of Best Practices in Synthetic Turfs
It is a report on ‘Implementation of Best Practices in synthetic turfs to avoid the release of microplastics from rubber granulate into the environment’. The report describes the most conventional best practices that have been implemented in synthetic turfs across Europe and their associated costs, and also highlights the importance of implementing those kind of measures to avoid the emissions of microplastics from rubber granulate into the environment, that could be reduced to negligible limits when those best practices are implemented in synthetic fields.
EuRIC unveils Sound Management of Waste & Chemicals Requirements Brochure
Sound management of hazardous substances in waste management and recycling activities is at the core of the circular economy. Recyclers have developed state-of-art separation techniques to safely treat a wide diversity of waste streams and recover valuable materials, hence directly contributing to the circular economy.
The Brochure published by EuRIC on ‘Sound Management of Waste & Chemicals Requirements’ highlights the main issues derived from the lack of interface between chemicals, product and waste legislation, and identifies simple solutions to boost the transition towards a more circular economy.
Christer Forsgren, Chair of the EuRIC’s Waste & Chemicals Task Force, Environmental & Technical Director at Stena Metall AB (Sweden), and Adjunct Professor in Industrial Material Recycling at Chalmers Technical University in Gothenburg, emphasized the key role that Europe’s recycling industry plays by reducing Europe’s dependency on primary materials and by saving massive amounts of CO2 and energy.
C. Forsgren stressed the importance of improving the interface between waste and chemical legislation by reducing legacy issues at product design stage, whenever possible, focusing on risks instead of hazards posed by substances of concern in safe recycling streams, and properly enforcing EU chemicals legislation at EU borders. The current lack of interface between these complex pieces of legislation is an important bottleneck to render value chains more circular, which is essential to make of Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
EuRIC unveils Metal Recycling Brochure
EuRIC is pleased to publish a factsheet on Metal Recycling highlighting the importance of both ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling and their substantial benefits for the environment and the economy in Europe.
The Brochure outlines the environmental benefits, the economic and international trade aspects of steel, aluminum and copper recycling.
EuRIC comments on the Roadmap for a New Circular Economy Action Plan
The European recycling industry, as highlighted in its 5 top priorities for 2019-2024, strongly welcomes the European Commission’s renewed ambition to put, thanks to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy and Climate policy on top of its strategic priorities for the next 5 years. Recycling is a job-intensive industry, creating local, non-outsourceable jobs, which is both resource and climate efficient. To move towards climate-neutrality and speed up the transition towards a circular economy, it is absolutely essential to drastically change important policy and regulatory-drivers applicable to recycling activities and throughout the value chain, based on three equally important priorities:
1. Adapt legislation to circular material flows by inter alia “modernizing (…) certain waste laws”;
2. Lay down market and fiscal based-instruments to incentivise the use of raw materials from recycling and level the playing field with primary materials;
3. Put in place requirements and incentives to design circular products and empower consumers’ sustainable choices through proper labelling.
These three priorities are essential to develop a much needed EU market for secondary raw materials rightly identified in the Roadmap as problem to be tackled.
EuRIC Position on WEEE Treatment Standards
To level the playing field in WEEE treatment at European level, EuRIC supports laying down mandatory minimum quality standards based on the WEEE treatment standards developed by CENELEC provided they:
- Are based on 50625 treatment standards developed by CENELEC.
- Distinguish informative from normative requirements as provided by the mandate M/518 with such a distinction to be made by a third independent expert and verified by the European Commission;
- Costs of implementation of binding minimum quality standards, in particular the costs of auditing, shall be continuously covered by Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Schemes or by Member States (MS)
EuRIC calls for an ambitious Strategy on Textiles
Textiles and clothing are essential to our everyday life. Over the last two decades, the textiles’ industry, in particular the development of ‘fast fashion’, has deeply changed the consumption patterns, in Europe and globally. These changes, rooted in the production and consumption stages, have also impacted the textiles re-use and recycling sector. EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation, strongly welcomes the European Commission’s decision to make textiles, apparel and fabrics a priority product category within the Circular Economy 2.0.
EuRIC welcomes the European Green Deal
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) welcomes the publication of the European Green Deal by the European Commission on 11 December 2019. The European Green Deal rightly puts climate and circular economy policies at the core of the objective to re-shape Europe’s economy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.