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.
Press Release | Revised EU waste rules threaten to turn the tide on European recycling
European recyclers are making an urgent plea to shadow rapporteurs as revised EU rules threaten to severely impact trade of recycled materials risking irreversible economic damage and job losses to Europe’s leading circular economy industries.
“We are aligned with the EU’s vision of establishing a circular economy where waste is recycled as a priority in Europe, not elsewhere. Yet, export restrictions must not undermine an already fragmented internal market that is reliant on demand outside the EU,” says Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation. “Where access to the market for recycled materials is prohibited, recycling simply will not take place,” he added.
EU lawmakers have understood the importance of mandatory recycled content targets, but this only extends to plastics. Targets for paper and metals – 29 million tons of which are exported annually – must also be enshrined in law to ensure a European circular economy for all materials.
While the proposal to facilitate trade of recycled materials within the EU by reducing the administrative and cost burden is a step forward, ambiguous criteria for rejecting these shipments remain. Therefore, European recyclers call for clearly defined harmonised criteria for preventing abuse of intra-EU waste shipments while facilitating a deeper integration of the EU single market for recycled materials.
Note to editor:
For press-related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, EuRIC Communication Advisor, by email at email@example.com or by phone at +32 (0) 487 39 21 82.
Public consultation | WEEE Directive revision - European recycling industries' input to the call for evidence
EuRIC strongly supports the European Commission’s initiative to evaluate the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) whose goal is to protect the environment and human health, contribute to sustainable production and consumption as well as ensure that resources are used efficiently in an EU circular economy.
In terms of sustainability, although EuRIC believes that a significant step forward has been made since the Directive’s entry into force in 2012, European recyclers believe that there is room for improvement in order to realise the objectives of the EU Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). Click below to view EuRIC's complete input to the European Commission's call for evidence on the WEEE Directive revision.
Position Paper | EPR Schemes
Recycling creates value by turning waste into recycled materials while saving energy and GHG emissions compared to extracting new raw materials. Over the last decades, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Schemes for different waste streams have been set up to shift the polluter-pays principle from governments, local authorities, and end-consumers to producers placing products on the market. The recent multiplication of EPR Schemes pose a serious risk to the recycling industry. Learn more about these challenges by downloading below the EuRIC position paper on EPR Schemes.
Press Release | European recyclers demand recycled content targets as EU Commission seeks to keep recycling exports in Europe
European recyclers are urging EU decisionmakers to introduce mandatory targets for recycled materials in new products as proposed EU waste shipment rules seek to excessively limit exports of almost 27 million tons of recycled materials outside Europe.
While European recyclers do not oppose export prohibitions of problematic waste outside Europe such as mixed plastics, indiscriminate restrictions will suppress demand for high-value recycled materials such as metals and paper.
“If MEPs want to ensure waste is recycled in Europe, they must enshrine binding targets for the use of recycled materials in intermediate products such as metals, paper, and plastics,” says Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC, the European recycling industries federation. “If export prohibitions go ahead, high-value materials destined for recycling will instead pile up in landfill or end up incinerated. Polluting extracted raw materials will have an advantage over recycling in the absence of appropriate market conditions,” he added.
Currently, only 12% of materials used in EU production come from recycling and proposed export restrictions would reduce this even further. Mandatory targets for recycled materials can instead stimulate market demand in the EU, reducing reliance on international markets and thereby stimulating a truly European circular economy that prevents drastic amounts of CO2 emissions.
Battery fires in recycling facilities - a burning issue and how to resolve it
Facilities recycling electronic waste, metal scrap, and other waste streams are increasingly confronted by fires caused by defective high-energy batteries, particularly lithium batteries. This paper highlights the urgent actions and increased cooperation along the value chain needed to tackle lithium battery fires in recycling facilities.
Press Release | Sky-rocketing energy prices pose a vital risk to European recyclers
23 September 2022
The dramatic increase in energy prices pose a substantial challenge to the European recycling industries. Major European recycling companies, including SMEs have already significantly reduced or entirely suspended production. In these exceptional circumstances, the sector is urging policymakers to enact immediate financial aid to prevent significant long-term damage to European recycling.
Press Release | Waste Shipment Regulation set to decimate European recycling industry
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) is issuing a stark warning to European policymakers as current waste shipment proposals both risk significant job losses and hampering investment in Europe’s pioneering circular economy sector.
European recyclers already contribute 95 billion EUR in turnover to Europe’s already fragile economy. Yet up 80% of metal and paper recyclers anticipate a reduction in turnover under current waste shipment proposals. More than 300,000 EU green jobs are sustained by the sector, yet up to 50% of metal and paper recyclers warn that job losses will be inevitable.
“Policymakers have a choice. Are they on the same side as a sector at the forefront of championing a European circular economy? Or do they want to encourage the extraction of raw materials over recycling? Waste shipment rules must change course to encourage free, fair and sustainable trade of recycled materials” warned Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC.
The industry supports waste shipment restrictions that discourage exports of “problematic” waste outside the EU such as mixed plastic, unprocessed tyres, batteries and vehicules. However, it is concerned that current proposals incentivise extraction of raw materials, which is a significant source of pollution, over recycling. Not only will this hinder Europe’s ability achieve its recycling and net-zero emissions targets, but green job losses will also be unavoidable and investment in Europe’s circular economy will be significantly curtailed.
One-pager: Waste Shipment Regulation jeopardises a European circular economy for recycling
The European recycling industries outline the significant risks posed to both to employment and economic growth under current proposals envisaged by the revision of the EU's Waste Shipment Regulation. In this one-pager, we summarise these unnecessary risks and outline what can be changed in order to sustain a truly circular European economy for recycling that supports economic growth and local green jobs.
Press Release | From tyres to football pitches? Why the microplastics’ ban misses the mark on the EU’s circular economy
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) strongly rejects an EU proposal that will indirectly ban materials from tyres as part of its effort to eradicate microplastics.
Each year around 150 million tyres are processed for recycling annually – that’s one tyre for every three EU citizens. This rubber from recycled tyres has a wide range of everyday benefits that may not always be obvious – including essential materials for artificial football pitches, children’s playgrounds, and filling potholes. “Under the current proposal more than 50,000,0000 unrecycled tyres may pile up or are at risk of being exported outside the EU for incineration where environmental standards are less stringent. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the smart climate policy that we expect from the EU,” says Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC.
The textiles re-use & recycling industry welcomes the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles
06 July 2022
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) welcomes the publication of the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles1 creating conditions and incentives to reach a sustainable and circular textiles value chain by 2030.
The European textiles re-use and recycling industry is key to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy in textiles. Through preparation for re-use or recycling, the industry gives textiles a second life and saves resources, emissions and energy compared to the use of virgin textiles fibres. Additionally, it is a labor-intensive and local industry, relying on a wide variety of skilled professionals.