Brussels – On 21 October, FEAD has contacted the Commissioners and the Secretariat General of the European Commission in view of the upcoming Circular Economy Package stressing that binding targets at EU-level and pull measures should be key elements of the Package. FEAD believes that binding recycling and landfill diversion targets at EU level should be a central part of the revised Package. This is vital to provide legal certainty beyond 2020.
This would give the private sector a firm basis for making business and investment decisions on waste and resource management infrastructure. FEAD strongly believes that these targets should remain harmonised at EU level, with longer transition periods and additional support for some Member States where necessary.
Where will the demand come from?
Furthermore, the Commission’s original proposals on waste targets were mainly about the supply side. The proposals to ban recyclable waste from landfill by 2025, and to set a 70 percent recycling target for municipal waste by 2030 would vastly increase the supply of secondary raw materials. But where will the demand for these additional materials come from?
Secondary raw materials compete with raw materials from primary sources. The environmental cost of using primary raw materials should be better reflected in their price. In some respects, such as homogeneity, secondary raw materials are at a disadvantage to primary raw materials. Recyclers also face challenges relating to the application of the REACH chemicals regulation.
More emphasis on demand
If Europe truly believes in the wider economic, environmental and social advantages of a circular as opposed to a linear economy, it must recognise that market forces alone, even market forces bolstered by supply side measures, will not deliver a more Circular Economy. If the cost of collecting and sorting secondary raw materials outweighs the output value of that material, it could become uneconomic to collect and process much of Europe’s recyclable waste.
That is why FEAD is calling on the Commission to put much more emphasis on the demand side in its revised proposals by including the following “pull” measures:
- Minimum recycled content requirements for selected products
- Minimum green public procurement requirements at EU level to boost purchase of recycled products and materials
- Eco-labelling rules to incorporate indications of recycled content and recyclability
- Lower or zero rate of VAT on second hand goods and products with recycled content
Source: European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD)