EuRIC Position for a Revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation Supporting the Circular Economy

The Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) is, as rightly identified in the new CEAP, a pivotal piece of legislation with provisions that need to be aligned with the overarching objectives of transitioning towards a circular economy. Hence, the revision offers the opportunity to make both needed adjustments to fix lasting bottlenecks and radical changes to address long-term obstacles rooted in outdated obligations.

It is time to align the procedures set by the Waste Shipment with the pace of Circular value chains. A paradigm shift requires to treat waste in legislation as a resource enabling the circular economy, stressed Peter FLORMANN, Chair of EuRIC Waste Shipment Task Force.

This paper goes beyond simply identifying lasting problems rooted in waste shipment procedures. It provides detailed solutions to support a revision of the WSR that enables the creation of a well-functioning European market for secondary raw materials. EuRIC calls in particular for

  • Simplified waste shipment procedures, be it for green listed waste and waste subject to prior informed consent (PIC) procedure, which make an extensive use of the digitalization (electronic procedures);
  • Preserving free and fair trade of secondary raw materials which is vital to the competitiveness of the European recycling industry and to speed up the transition towards a circular economy, while leveling the playing field with primary raw materials;
  • Accompanying the revision of the waste shipment regulation by binding requirements to boost the use of secondary raw materials in production processes and reward their well-documented environmental benefits in terms of GHG and energy savings.

For Julia BLEES, Senior Policy Officer at EuRIC, closing boundaries has never brought any benefits except distorting markets. While EuRIC entirely supports avoiding unprocessed waste posing an environmental risk to find its way to countries lacking any infrastructure and makes practical proposals in that respect, it is key to ensure that free and fair trade of secondary raw materials remains unhampered. At a time where Europe’s industry remains mostly linear with only 12% of the materials it uses coming from recycling [1], truly boosting circular value chains in Europe require decisive measures such as binding recycled content targets and incentives supporting the uptake of recycled materials in manufacturing, not trade barriers, she concluded.  

[1] The European Green Deal, COM (2019) 640 Final.

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