Circular Economy for Europe: a step in the right direction to move from “waste” to “resource” management

Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials

ISSN: 0003-5599

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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(2014), "Circular Economy for Europe: a step in the right direction to move from “waste” to “resource” management", Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials, Vol. 61 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/ACMM.12861faa.015

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Circular Economy for Europe: a step in the right direction to move from “waste” to “resource” management

Article Type: Environment and safety From: Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials, Volume 61, Issue 6

Eurometaux welcomes the package on Circular Economy as a true attempt to promote quality recycling and welcomes some of the proposed measures, even though the package remains too weight-focused. Metals are essential to moving to a resource- and energy-efficient society. As they can be recycled again and again, the priority should be to ensure that as much recyclable waste and end-of-life products as possible are recycled in efficient conditions to recover as much valuable material/metals as economically and technically possible. Eurometaux calls for a continued dialogue on ambitious although pragmatic measures to promote material recovery in Europe and for Europe.

Eurometaux welcomes different elements of the Circular Economy package, including the requirements on waste exports that will help fighting against illegal shipments of waste, the progressive landfill ban on recyclable waste, the reference to resource efficiency criteria to be developed for eco-design requirements, the request for better reporting of data, the link with innovation and the ambitious recycling targets.

However, Eurometaux believes that the package still focuses on the management of waste from a weight perspective, and not on the recovery of valuable material and their circular management. Indeed recycling once is good, but the ultimate objective should be to ensure that materials are recycled many times. Eurometaux welcomes the reference to quality recycling and the request to clarify the calculation method for recycled materials to ensure a high recycling quality level. It also welcomes the call to Member States to take measures to recover critical raw materials.

Some of the weaknesses of the Circular Economy package include defined by Eurometaux:

  • Definition: The definition of “material recovery” is somewhat unclear and does not find a practical translation in the measures proposed. The confusion between “recycling” and “collection”, “pre- processing” or “end-processing” remains. All steps of the recycling value chain are indispensable but the ultimate objective is to recover material from waste and end-of-life products.

  • Quality recycling: The targets set on pre-processing should be linked to a requirement for quality treatment of the material from collection to the recovery of the material. This would duly contribute to providing raw materials for Europe! The approach also focuses too much on quantity and not enough on the type of material to be recovered.

  • End-of-waste: As long as recycling process output fractions need further reprocessing, whether they have achieved the end-of-waste status or not, quality treatment should be a pre-requisite. If these fractions are further treated in the EU or outside the EU, same quality standards should apply.

  • Packaging: Eurometaux believes that high recycling targets are necessary to boost recycling in Europe and for Europe but also questions the separate targets for ferrous and non-ferrous metals as it would generate extra and unnecessary costs for investments needed to put in place parallel collection and sorting infrastructure for non-ferrous metals only.

  • Focus on specific waste streams: The focus on hazardous materials is in our view unnecessary as REACH and other pieces of legislation (e.g. RoHS) take care of the safe use and production of chemicals including inorganics. Eurometaux strongly calls for consistency between pieces of legislation and for avoiding overlaps and unnecessary additional burdens or even contradictory approaches.

Eurometaux calls for a continued dialogue on ambitious although pragmatic measures to promote material recovery in Europe and for Europe.

More information is available from: http://www.eurometaux.eu