Communication paper: for a chemical, product and waste legislation interface

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Neue Gefahrstoff-Symbole (Quelle: TÜV Rheinland)

Brussels — The EU commission has published a Communication paper on the implementation of the circular economy package. It offers options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation. 

Recycling and re-use can be hampered by the presence of certain chemicals. Some chemicals can simply constitute technical barriers preventing recycling. Even a benign substance, which for example has a strong smell, could in some cases prevent use of the recycled material. Other chemicals are hazardous to humans or the environment. A growing number of these are being identified and becoming subject to restrictions or prohibitions.

These chemicals may be present in products sold before the restrictions applied, some of which have a long lifetime, and therefore prohibited chemicals can sometimes be found in recycling streams. Such substances can be costly to detect or remove, creating obstacles in particular for small recyclers. All these different types of chemicals are called „Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation“ (SVHC) or short „substances of concern“.

The Communication paper and the accompanying Staff Working Document is the result of cross- cutting work between experts in charge of different legislative areas. Also an extensive targeted stakeholder consultation was undertaken. The Communication explores the four most critical issues identified in the way the legislation on chemicals, products and waste work together and how these are hampering a circular economy development.

The full Communication can be found under ec.europa.eu(1); the Staff Working Document is available under ec.europa.eu(2).

Source: EU Commission