The European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) is a step in the right direction towards reducing reliance on CRMs from outside the EU and enhancing EU supply chain resiliency and security.
“European recyclers strongly support the 15 per cent target of strategic raw materials coming from EU recycling,” noted Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC). “However, the establishment of robust targets for recycled content in end-products is essential. This will accelerate demand for recycled CRMs and must be an essential component of any future implementing legislation. The inclusion of a recycled content target for permanent magnets is a good start but must be extended to other end-products using CRMs,” he added.
The success of achieving these targets relies heavily on measures that both level the playing field with extracted raw materials and boost European research and innovation to upscale EU recycling capabilities. Moreover, the CRM proposal must not be considered in isolation from the wide range of other EU legislative initiatives that could either suppress or boost recycling and the circular economy. These include the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) and the upcoming revisions of the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) and WEEE Directives.
Finally, collection targets and new and enhanced technologies are imperative for ensuring that CRMs are effectively recovered for recycling. Funding and access to finance for investments in CRM recycling projects will therefore be critical in spurring these much-needed technological advancements, boosting a climate-neutral and circular economy as well as homegrown European innovation.