New Circular Economy Package: European recyclers see scope for greater ambition

The European Recycling Industries Confederation (EuRIC) welcomes the publication of the circular economy package by the European Commission as a first step to support sustainable growth in Europe. Nevertheless, there is clear room for improvement on a number of topics, including recycling targets and their calculation method, stricter measures to phase out landfill and incineration of recyclables, the clarity of new provisions as legal certainty is crucial for recycling businesses.

To value recycled materials’ net environmental benefits, more also needs to be done to boost the demand for secondary raw materials and correct market failures which distort competition between primary and secondary raw materials. This also implies a correct understanding of the role of each actor in the circular economy to avoid any confusion between recycling, production and consumption phases and so be in a position to implement the right measures incentivising secondary raw materials to complete the value chain.

Dominique Maguin, EuRIC President, commented: “The revised package has raised huge expectations among recyclers at a time when the recycling industry is enduring difficult economic times. The action plan to close the loop through a number of measures, including eco-design to ease products’ recyclability or ‘market-driven initiatives’, is a positive step forward. However, more needs to be done”.

Among the positive elements, EuRIC welcomes proposals to facilitate cross-border circulation of secondary raw materials through the use of electronic data exchange. Emmanuel Katrakis, EuRIC Secretary General, recalls that the Confederation has been a strong supporter of simplifying formalities for resource shipments. “Aligning administrative procedures with the pace of businesses by moving to electronic control systems is, in our digital age, an imperative for recyclers” he said. If properly designed, electronic procedures for resource shipments have not only the potential to reduce administrative burdens for recycling businesses, many of them SMEs, but also to boost markets for secondary raw materials by alleviating uncertainties stemming from the current framework.

“To rise to the challenge of realising the circular economy, EuRIC looks forward to working with the European institutions and all stakeholders in order to agree on a market-driven package which makes a difference for recycling companies, society and the environment,”, Maguin concluded.


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