European recyclers are making an urgent plea to shadow rapporteurs as revised EU rules threaten to severely impact trade of recycled materials risking irreversible economic damage and job losses to Europe’s leading circular economy industries.
“We are aligned with the EU’s vision of establishing a circular economy where waste is recycled as a priority in Europe, not elsewhere. Yet, export restrictions must not undermine an already fragmented internal market that is reliant on demand outside the EU,” says Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation. “Where access to the market for recycled materials is prohibited, recycling simply will not take place,” he added.
EU lawmakers have understood the importance of mandatory recycled content targets, but this only extends to plastics. Targets for paper and metals – 29 million tons of which are exported annually – must also be enshrined in law to ensure a European circular economy for all materials.
While the proposal to facilitate trade of recycled materials within the EU by reducing the administrative and cost burden is a step forward, ambiguous criteria for rejecting these shipments remain. Therefore, European recyclers call for clearly defined harmonised criteria for preventing abuse of intra-EU waste shipments while facilitating a deeper integration of the EU single market for recycled materials.