Circular Economy

Our industry’s opinion on the new Circular Economy package

The European Commission’s new Circular Economy Package is a landmark in creating a more resource-efficient economy. We believe that this package provides the basis for accelerating the transition from a linear to a true circular economy. It also allows scaling it up beyond Europe.

It paves the way for a stronger engagement of the aluminium industry to enhance recycling across its value chain, from production to the end of life product’s products.

With high end of life recycling rates, aluminium is a key contributor to a Circular Economy. Recycling aluminium uses only 5% of the energy needed for the primary production.

The level of ambition of the new package will be evaluated in the light of concrete deliveries and effective implementation.

What we hope the final package will contain

  • Point of measurement: set the calculation point for recycling targets as input into the final recycling process;
  • Obligation for Member States to include metals recovered from bottom ashes in the national recycling statistics, with maximum impurity levels;
  • Secure a split target for aluminium packaging, based on the EU Commission proposal;
  • Introduce a re-use and recycling target for Construction & Demolition Waste;
  • Free and fair trade, based on equal environmental, health and safety conditions;
  • More transparent minimum requirements for EPR, respecting the Internal Market principles.

Why permanent materials such as aluminium are perfectly suitable to a circular economy

While the Circular Economy package proposed by the European Commission is a clear step towards a true resource efficient and circular economy, we believe it can be further stimulated by introducing an extra focus on materials. It is essential to make a clear distinction between recycling which leads to the gradual degradation of the material, and recycling which keeps the material in the loop without losing its intrinsic material characteristics. Aluminium can claim to be a material with "permanent" characteristics or properties, to be abbreviated as "permanent material", one for which the inherent properties do not change during use and following repeated recycling into new products. Obviously used aluminium has to be collected and sorted properly, in order to make it available for its next use phase.

More on permanent material >

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