To measure ‘real’ rates: Recycling associations welcome EP`s vote on CEP

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Abfallcontainer (Foto: Kroll / Recyclingportal.eu)

Brussels — The European Parliament has opted to follow the ambitious lead set by Environment committee’s vote on the Circular Economy package (CEP) in January this year. The most important outcome from the vote is that MEPs moved in favour of one single calculation method that enshrines real and comparable recycling rates both in and for Europe.

As Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, stated, the vote in Plenary confirmed the essential role that measuring real recycling rates plays in achieving a circular economy in Europe. Already approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, the vote in favour of a single calculation method at input to the final recycling process will enable a real comparison of recycling rates between Member States. As the trialogues with Member States begin, European Aluminium hopes that all institutions recognise the importance of adopting a harmonised approach for measuring recycling rates. It would allow the EU to measure what is actually recycled, rather than simply collected or sorted. Seeing as the ultimate objective of the circular economy is to close the loop, it is first essential to have an appropriate calculation and reporting method that provides accurate and clear insight into the actual situation across the EU. However, European Aluminium is disappointed that the European Parliament was not more ambitious regarding scrap exports and its treatment outside of Europe.

A harmonised EU approach

For APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, the European Parliament plenary vote on Circular Economy Package gives a strong mandate to the EP in the trilogue discussion with the Council and Commission. “Swift implementation of the Circular Economy Package will deliver numerous benefits, specifically: a harmonised EU approach, greater legal certainty and a more viable internal market,” said Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, and added: “APEAL is also pleased to note the EP’s reference to ‘multiple recycling’ is confirmed and backed by a large majority of the Members of the EP. By introducing the concept of multiple recycling, where products and packaging materials are kept in the material loop and can become resources for other products and packaging, the EP contributes to increasing understanding of the corresponding concept of permanent materials such as steel, that can be recycled multiple times, indeed forever.

An important milestone

European Bioplastics, the association representing the bioplastics industry in Europe, welcomes the positive outcome of the European Parliament’s plenary vote on the waste legislation proposal concerning the EU Circular Economy Package. The plenary’s vote on amendments of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive encourages Member States to support the use of bio-based materials for the production of packaging and to improve market conditions for such materials and products. “This vote is an important milestone in strengthening the link between the circular economy and the bioeconomy in Europe. Bio-based and recycled materials are starting to be equally recognised as a viable solution to make packaging more sustainable and reduce our dependency on finite fossil resources”, says François de Bie, Chairman of EUBP.

New opportunities provided

“Today, the European Parliament has fully grasped the opportunity to make the Circular Economy work for Europe by enabling industry and local authorities to better target where investment needs to take place”, says CEPI Director General Sylvain Lhôte. CEPI recognises that the new recycling targets are ambitious while providing new opportunities in terms of improving quality. The vote to encourage the use of bio-based packaging also demonstrates the importance of a Circular Economy that builds upon Europe’s wealth of renewable resources while accelerating the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

To improve market conditions

FEFCO welcomes the European Parliament’s vote supporting the ambitious report on the waste package adopted by the Environmental Committee in January 2017. The vote recognises the need to raise public awareness and encourages Member States to improve the market conditions for bio-based recyclable packaging. Corrugated is such a packaging and a perfect example of a real circular economy. According to the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers, the vote strengthens the need for separate collection, providing an opportunity for high quality of materials for recycling, which is beneficial for the European economy, the society and the environment.

Source: European Aluminium, APEAL, European Bioplastics, CEPI, FEFCO