Brussels – FEAD has welcomed the publication of the European Commission’s new Circular Economy Package and is pleased that the Commission has done so before the end of 2015 as promised. FEAD President David Palmer-Jones commented on the Commission proposals : “If Europe truly believes in the wider economic, environmental and social advantages of a Circular Economy, it must recognise that market forces and supply side measures alone will not deliver it.”
FEAD believes that the Commission’s proposals contain a number of positive elements, notably:
- The emphasis on better implementation of waste legislation, including compliance plans for less well performing Member States, new provisions to be included in waste management plans, and an early warning system.
- The proposed new legally binding targets for recycling and landfill diversion, which are a central part of the revised package and which should provide private companies with much-needed legal certainty beyond 2020 when making important investment decisions on waste and resource management infrastructure.
- The eco-design working plan for 2015-2017, which will help by setting requirements on durability, reparability and recyclability of products and standardisation of material efficiency.
- The emphasis on ensuring that EU funded projects contribute to a circular economy and must be in line with the waste hierarchy.
There are some elements however which FEAD believes will need further development during the negotiations on the package. In particular, while the Commission appears to recognize the importance of creating resilient markets for secondary raw materials, FEAD members are disappointed that the Commission proposals imply that market mechanisms alone will achieve this. FEAD believes the package should have contained stronger regulatory pull measures to create demand. Given current very low prices of primary raw materials, the collection and sorting of secondary raw materials could become uneconomic.
Commenting on the Commission proposals FEAD President David Palmer-Jones said: “If Europe truly believes in the wider economic, environmental and social advantages of a Circular Economy, it must recognise that market forces and supply side measures alone will not deliver it. Europe’s economy can only be truly circular if strong markets are available for the secondary raw materials the recycling and reprocessing sectors produce. The current markets are unstable and disincentivise secondary raw material production and uptake by Europe’s industry”.
“While secondary materials are in direct competition with lower-price virgin materials, we will not deliver a more circular economy in Europe, even when overall demand for raw material is strong, unless the environmental cost of using primary raw materials is better reflected in their price”, Palmer-Jones added. “FEAD looks forward to working together with all actors as the negotiations on the Commission proposals progress over the coming months”.
Source: European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services