Colm Markey MEP discusses POPs thresholds with EERA-President

Colm Markey, Irish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) visited KMK Metals Recycling Ltd, the metals and WEEE recycling business owned by President of EERA, Kurt Kyck, on Thursday, August 4thfor a tour of the company’s headquarters in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland.

MEP Markey engaged in a detailed discussion with Kurt Kyck about how decisions taken at a European level can affect how businesses operate on a day-to-day level. Mr Kyck made particular reference to proposals to lower the thresholds of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in recycled plastics.

The aim of the legislation is to introduce tougher controls on chemicals historically used as flame retardants as well as other potentially hazardous substances. Mr Kyck explained that setting the maximum concentration levels for POPs in waste materials to far lower than they have traditionally been, will mean that many plastics that could be safely reused in many specific products, will have to be considered a hazardous waste.

Kurt Kyck, CEO of KMK Metals Recycling, said: “MEP Colm Markey’s visit to KMK Metals Recycling was very welcome and we were pleased that he made time in his schedule to meet with us and have a tour of our Tullamore facility. First-time visitors to the company are always surprised at the scale of our operations and processes.

“One of the things I wanted to get across to him was that European-level decisions that might seem on paper to be doing the right thing with regards to the environment, might actually be working against the drive for a circular economy. Reducing the POPs thresholds may seem like the noble thing to do, but it will result in less reuse and more and more waste leaving Europe for non-compliant facilities instead of resources being recovered at certified treatment facilities that have quality processes in place.

“As EERA members, we have been strenuously calling for the protection of the resources contained in properly recycled WEEE plastics. Substances of concern can be removed on an industrial scale, but this is only possible at a pragmatic, reasonably acceptable threshold level.”

Colm Markey MEP commented: “As legislators we must always be aware of possible unintended consequences in any decision that we make. We all want to see more recycling and reuse and we therefore have to ensure that we do not put regulations in place that will divert potentially usable products to incineration or to third countries with lax regulations.

“I would like to thank Kurt and his team for showing us around their very impressive facility and for his insights into a range of complex issues and wish KMK every success in continuing the good work that they are doing in turning our waste into useful products.”


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