The newly published green recovery plan stresses the importance of strengthening the foundations of circular economy. To fulfil the ambitious but achievable objectives put forward by the Green Deal and the upcoming Circular Economy Action Plan, FEAD highlights that EU has to step up its investments in waste recycling and waste treatment capacity.
More waste recycling is key to achieve a circular economy and be successful in the fight against climate change by avoiding CO2 emissions, and creating sustainable, innovative, local jobs. Peter Kurth, FEAD’s President, says: “No doubt that waste recycling is a best environmental option. But it suffers from a lack of competitiveness compared to the use of virgin materials that do not incorporate environmental costs. The unprecedented proposed EU recovery plan will be followed by more detailed allocation of EU support. This is the perfect time for EC to foresee a massive support through EU funds for reducing massive landfilling, developing selective waste collection schemes, investing in sorting installations, starting, and strengthening activities in the whole recycling and recovery chain. Last but not least, the tax on non-recycled plastic has definitely to be further explored as an own EU budget resource.”
Concrete policy and economic instruments are necessary to achieve the Circular economy objectives, and create a strong demand for recyclates:
- To ensure the uptake of high-quality secondary raw materials, FEAD calls upon the European Commission to lay down mandatory recycled content rules on specific products. Moreover, mandatory rules on green public procurement are also necessary to ensure a stronger demand for recyclates in “green” products. Strong eco-design rules are also an essential part of the recycling dynamics.
- Further improve the functioning of internal market for secondary raw materials thanks to more efficient waste shipment procedures and EU-wide end-of-waste criteria on certain flows.
- Concerning waste exports, FEAD stresses that proper environmental standard for shipments to third countries have to be put in place, ensuring that waste exports can take place as an important component of the commodity market, crucial to more recycling.
- The treatment of non-recyclable residual waste through waste-to-energy has a key role to play in a more circular economy. Thus, a more fact-based discussion on the proper treatment of non-recyclable residual waste should be resumed at the EU level.
- The Taxonomy should fully take into consideration the whole recycling and recovery (non- recyclable) waste treatment chain, be they non-hazardous or hazardous waste.