Waste Framework Directive: European material industries call for measurement of real recycling rates
Europe‘s metals, steel, paper, and plastics recyclers industries are united in calling for a harmonised method to measure recycling rates at input into the 'final recycling process', so as to promote material recovery and thus quality recycling. We support the European Commission and European Parliament proposals on this subject.
In Europe, Member States use different methods for calculating national recycling rates, making comparison difficult. Some base their calculations on waste collected or sorted, while much of that waste will still be incinerated, landfilled or exported without guarantee of proper treatment.
In a true circular economy, materials in products should be properly recovered and recycled, for use in new product life-cycles. The Commission’s proposal to measure real recycling rates across all Member States is an important step to promote material recovery and guarantee its supply into the ‘final recycling process‘.
Why measure at input into the final recycling process?
Measuring recycling rates at input into the final recycling process has the following benefits:
Promoting material recovery from waste and end-of-life products, by avoiding that the collected and sorted waste which gets landfilled, incinerated or exported is counted as recycled
Identifying a final recycling step, where material is recovered from waste and is able to substitute primary material in a new product life-cycle. All actors of the recycling value chain make key contributions to the reprocessing of waste into products or materials. Recycling rates should measure the true rate of material recovered from waste.
Allowing a benchmark of progress, by implementing a harmonised method for all Member States (although some might now have more difficulty achieving recycling targets)
During their review of EU waste legislation, MEPs and Member States should safeguard the European Commission’s proposal for measuring real recycling rates. This is an essential step to promoting material recovery across European sectors.
Annex – How are different sectors structured?
It is important to note that in some sectors, the same operator conducts multiple steps in the recycling value chain; for example both the sorting and the final recycling step. In others, each step is conducted by a different operator.
This has no influence on where to measure the recycling rate (which should always be conducted at input into the operation that will allow for substitution of the primary material). For that reason, our model of the recycling value chain can be applied across all waste streams.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) represents 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe and 920 paper mills. The sector uses a renewable resource, wood, from sustainably-managed forests as well as paper for recycling as its raw material. With a recycling rate of 72% (2015), we are a strong contributor to the circular economy and the bioeconomy.
Contact Person: Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eurometaux is the decisive voice of non-ferrous metals producers and recyclers in Europe. With an annual turnover of €120bn, our members represent an essential industry for European society that businesses in almost every sector depend on. Together, we are leading Europe towards a more circular future through the endlessly recyclable potential of metals.
Contact Person: Annick Carpentier, Sustainability Director – email@example.com
The European Steel Association (EUROFER) is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.
Contact Person: Aurelio Braconi, Raw Materials and Scrap Market – firstname.lastname@example.org
About Plastics Recyclers Europe
Plastics Recyclers Europe represent National Associations and Individual Member Companies covering 80% of the European market. We focus on the promotion of plastics recycling and the creation of conditions which enable profitable and sustainable business.
Contact person: Antonino Furfari, Director – email@example.com