Europe: The European Commission’s revised Circular Economy package ‘should have proposed a number of regulatory “pull” measures so as to correct existing market failures’ and thereby help create ‘strong and resilient markets for secondary raw materials’, according to a joint statement from the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) and the FEAD waste management federation.
For a Circular Economy to work in practice, they argue, waste which cannot be prevented must be capable of being recovered as a useful resource in line with the waste hierarchy. ‘This will only happen if the recovery of those waste resources is economically viable at prices which reflect the true cost of collecting them, sorting them, recycling and marketing them to end users,’ EuRIC and FEAD insist. ‘It is therefore key to reward the environmental benefits of recycling and level the playing field with virgin materials.’
EuRIC and FEAD have also called for: minimum recycled content requirements for selected products; minimum green public procurement requirements at EU level to boost purchases of recycled products and materials; amendment of eco-labelling rules to incorporate indications of recycled content and recyclability; and encouragement of member states to adopt fiscal and financial incentives – such as a lower or zero rate of VAT – to favour secondary raw materials.
European Commission proposals to ban separately collected waste from landfill and to set binding recycling targets for municipal waste ‘are very much welcomed’, they continue. But while targets would increase supply of secondary raw materials, they would not automatically create demand for them, it is pointed out.
‘We need to make sure that European legislation lays down the framework conditions to support a sustainable demand for those secondary raw materials, so that the economics of a Circular Economy become self-supporting,’ they insist.