In view of the Council conclusions on the Circular Economy Action Plan expected in December, FEAD held a successful online debate on the role of the German Presidency and its deliverables on circular economy.
The debate, initiated by FEAD President Peter Kurth, was joined by Dr.Christop Epping (German Federal Ministry of Environment), William Neale (European Commission, MEP Jan Huitema (renew rapporteur for the Circular Economy Action Plan), MEP Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP shadow rapporteur on the same file) and Stéphane Arditi (European Environmental Bureau).
Facilitated by moderator Jacki Davis, discussions revolved around four key issues of interest to the Circular Economy Action Plan:
- Europe cannot reach its circularity objectives without creating a truly competitive market for secondary raw materials. Proper economic incentives, and strong binding measures, such as mandatory recycled contents in products, are needed from policy makers to achieve these objectives.
- A strong focus should be given during the product design stage. Eco-design measures, through essential requirements and provisions on durability, are needed to increase the recyclability and reusability of products.
- Waste that can be recycled and/or recovered has to be diverted from landfills. This is crucial for going up the waste hierarchy and save on GHG emissions.
- Waste-to-energy capacities for residual non-recyclable waste represent an integral part of the circular economy. To achieve the objective of diverting residual waste from landfills, waste-to-energy is now more than ever needed.
In conclusion, panellists agreed that, in the context of the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, circular economy stimuli equals recovery stimuli. The waste management industry is a fundamental actor to properly redirect investments and leverage on its own potential to achieve circularity and climate neutrality.
In this regard, FEAD President Peter Kurth stressed that: “Raw materials of the future come from waste. The waste management industry is a key partner to achieve this objective and to channel the proper investments towards economic recovery.” FEAD warmly thanks the panellists for their participation and collaboration, and welcomed the large interest expressed by attendees from across Europe.