Recyclers back Europe’s green policies, with a caveat

Recyclers back Europe’s green policies, with a caveat

Associations urge robust, global secondary commodity market as part of European Commission’s Green New Deal.

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September 17, 2020

European recycling and basic materials associations have favorable things to say about the recent State of the Union speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen regarding the EUs Green Deal set of programs. Those favorable comments are balanced, however, with a request by the region’s governments for more detail, and to respect how the private secondary commodity markets work.

The Brussels-based European Waste Management Association (FEAD) says it “welcomes the intention of the European Commission to align all climate policies” with a 55 percent emissions reduction target. Adds the group, however, “Despite mentioning the circular economy as the way forward for our economies, FEAD strongly encourages the European Commission to propose the needed policies and economic instruments to concretely facilitate the process.”

Remarks FEAD President Peter Kurth, “Our members, the private waste management companies, are ready to take up the challenge. Their contribution is essential to achieve the circular economy and fight climate change. Now we need concrete actions from the European legislator to ensure a very much needed shock on demand for recyclates: mandatory recycled content rules in certain key products, while keeping positive waste export rules to allow the offer in recyclates to meet the demand where it is, ensuring proper functioning of secondary raw materials markets. The EU recovery plan will be determinant to support and boost investments in selective collection and recycling.”

The Brussels-based European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), which consists of more than 20 European recycling federations, states, “The European recycling industry is ready to play its part. By turning waste into quality raw materials used to manufacture new products, recycling companies enable the circular economy and create local, non-outsourceable jobs across Europe.”

EuRIC says recycling “is not only intrinsically resource-efficient but also climate efficient by saving significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and energy, well-documented in robust studies for a variety of resource streams.”

Cinzia Vezzosi, president of EuRIC, says certain policy details will be critical to supporting recycling activity as part of the Green Deal. “Recycled content targets for a variety of products as well as incentives to reward recycling environmental benefits and level the playing field with primary materials are absolutely essential,” she states.

“In addition, time has come to speed up the adaptation of the EU’s regulatory framework to create a well-functioning market for secondary materials and streamline requirements hampering circular value chains, keeping in mind the global nature of commodity markets which are key to balance supply and demand. Last but not least, decisive actions are needed to boost eco-design for re-use and recycling of all product categories. Products that cannot be recycled when they reach end-of-life by using best available techniques should not find their way on the internal market. We have a vested interest in working with producers to ensure that design for circularity becomes the new norm,” she concluded.