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.
EuRIC Position on EPR Schemes for Textiles
Nowadays, our clothes are discarded and replaced by new items faster than ever before. According to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Europeans have purchased more clothing for less money over recent years due to the fast fashion phenomenon which promotes increased consumption and reduces the life span of clothing. For example, in Bulgaria the quantity of new textile products and footwear placed on the market has increased by about 122% in seven years (Denkstatt Bulgaria – Regulatory Impact Assessment of EPR for Shoes and Textiles in Bulgaria - Extended Summary Report).
The fast fashion trend, combined with the separate collection requirement for textiles by 2025 will automatically further increase the number of textiles collected. Currently, the collection of textiles is financed by revenues generated by the preparation for re-use and the marketing of second-hand textiles. However, in the future with an increase of separately collected textiles and a further drop in quality – due to lower quality products placed onto the market originally – the revenues generated will not be sufficient to cover all costs associated with the collection, sorting and recycling. Therefore, it is essential that markets for and the use of recycled textiles’ fibers are developed resp. incentivized while the markets for second-hand clothing are being maintained.
Setting up Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the field of textiles for producers and importers of new clothing, in line with the minimum requirements set in the Waste Framework Directive, would be welcomed by the textiles’ re-use and recycling industry only if it helps bridging the design and theend-of-life treatment stages. EPR should also support the existing system of re-use which is the largest activity of the textile recycling industry as well as the demand for recycled fibers.
EuRIC Statement - Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) for the waste management & recycling industry
EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation, calls on the European Union and competent authorities from Member States and from the UK, Norway and Switzerland to acknowledge:
- The essential role of the waste management and recycling industry in collecting, sorting and recycling of waste from household and industries to protect human health and the environment and
- Its strategic importance for the European economy as a provider of secondary raw materials (SRM) which are critical to downstream industries, some of them directly involved in combatting COVID-19 pandemic.
Hence, EuRIC would like in to raise awareness and call for a few but important measures.
EuRIC Press Release - EuRIC welcomes the New Circular Economy Action Plan
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) welcomes the publication of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) by the European Commission on 11 March 2020.
As rightly stressed throughout the CEAP, the transition towards a circular economy is instrumental to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and decouple economic growth from resource use. The recycling industry ticks all the boxes by substituting virgin materials and saving a substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions and energy, while at the same time creating local, non-outsourceable jobs.
EuRIC strongly welcomes in particular the emphasis throughout the CEAP on incentives and recycled content to reward circular products and empower consumers in making sustainable choices. EuRIC has continuously stressed the need to pull the demand for recycled materials and internalise their environmental benefits so as to boost the transition towards a circular economy, said Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of the Confederation. The priority given to circular design that increases recycled content in products with emphasis on plastics in packaging, vehicles and construction materials acknowledges the importance of steering markets towards more circularity, he added.
Creating a well-functioning EU market for secondary raw materials is another welcomed priority of the CEAP echoing EuRIC priorities for 2019-2024. This is where urgent action is needed. The European waste management and recycling market remains deeply fragmented by a myriad of jurisdictions interpreting key aspects of recycling activities across EU borders differently. EuRIC strongly supports the renewed emphasis on EU-wide end-of-waste criteria for key streams. This should go hand in hand with the simplification of the legal framework applicable to recycling activities in particular of waste shipment procedures to alleviate obstacles hindering the recycling of waste into high-quality secondary raw materials.
For European recyclers, access to adequate funding is also absolutely essential given the important disparities in waste management and recycling practices among Member States. Green public procurement, green finance, European funds and incentives have a key role to play in driving both public authorities, markets and citizens towards circularity.
EuRIC and its various material recycling Branches look forward working hand in hand with European policy-makers to translate the ambition of the new CEAP, be it on framework conditions or on key product value chains, into concrete measures that will boost recycling in Europe. This is all the more needed at a time where market conditions are severely impacting various recycling streams.
For further information, please contact EuRIC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org
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)