End-of-waste: Time to move forward

Recyclers’ Talks #5, organised on 5 October 2021 in partnership with eREC attracted over 100 participants.

Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC opened Recyclers’ Talks #5 by stressing the importance of EU-wide end-of-waste (EoW) criteria to achieve a well-functioning market for raw materials from recycling. EU-wide end of waste criteria are key to harmonise market access across the EU and reward quality.

Peter Wessman, Legal Officer – DG Environment, Waste Management and Secondary Materials Unit, European Commission – outlined the legal framework on the development of end-of-waste criteria which are based on the Waste Framework Directive. Following the publication of the new Circular Economy Action Plan in 2019, the European Commission is resuming the work on developing such criteria to boost a well-functioning internal market for secondary raw materials. He insisted on the data-driven prioritisation process the Commission is following to select suitable stream to develop EU-wide end-of-waste criteria. Currently, the Commission plans to select one waste stream at a time to develop end-of-waste criteria by 2023 and beyond.

Sébastien Ricard, Director of Sustainable Development & Public Affairs at PAPREC Group, underlined that for a leading recycling company like the one he works for, EU-wide end-of-waste criteria are absolutely essential to make investments. Not only end-of-waste places additional emphasis on quality but it also boosts circular value chains, by alleviating administrative barriers. Together with binding recycled content targets, their quick development is essential to level the playing field with extracted raw materials. He made the case for paper & board for which there is already an EU-wide harmonised quality standard and which would greatly benefit from such criteria to boost paper recycling and paper production in Europe.

Sara Stiernström, Product and Market Developer at EasyMining – Part of Ragn-Sells Group, emphasized the fact that regarding phosphorous, a critical raw material in the EU, the lack of EoW has been pointed out as a barrier in the interface between waste and chemical legislation hampering the circular economy for this highly demanded element.

Lars Raahauge, Environment & Business Development at Genan Group, explained why end-of-waste for tyres would boost investments in high-value recycling of end-of-life tyres- (ELT), which would result in substantial climate and resource savings in line with the objectives set by the European Green Deal. He stressed that within the EU, Spain, Italy or Portugal have already developed national end-of-waste criteria and that time has come to set harmonised EU-wide criteria.

Alex van Gelderen, Advisor ELT Management at ETRMA, echoed Lars RAAHAUGE by highlighting that the tyre and rubber manufacturing industry is working hand in hand with EuRIC on end-of-waste criteria. While a lot of work has already been done by the tyre value chain for proper management of ELTs, end-of-waste criteria are the missing link to go a step further in investing into innovative solutions and new markets to recycle ELTs.

Alicia Garcia Franco, Vice-President of EuRIC / Director General of FER concluded Recyclers Talks’ by highlighting the positive developments on national end-of-waste criteria for a great number of streams in Spain, which are on the Commission’s list. Therefore, she called upon the Commission to go faster and prioritise more than one stream at a time. While the European recycling industry is making a lot of investments to deliver on the new Circular Economy Action Plan initiatives, accelerating the development of EU-wide end-of-waste criteria is a legitimate call and an urgent one, for which the industry cannot wait three years per stream, she said to close the event.


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