This morning the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee voted on the amendments to the Circular Economy Package. Following the outcome of the vote, please find below some reactions by Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium.
Today the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee voted in favour of a single point of measurement for recycling targets at input to the final recycling process. We, as European Aluminium, strongly support this new rule. A real comparison of national recycling results will accelerate the transition to a more efficient circular economy. In addition, the new rule will trigger investments to improve the whole recycling value chain, closing the loopholes present in the current methods. This is a strong negotiating position that will push Member States to be more ambitious.
Although the ENVI Committee adopted several amendments that will enable a step change in the Circular Economy Package, it failed to address the issue of waste leakage. Today, waste leaving Europe to be recycled in other parts of the world is not held to the same high environmental, health and safety standards – and is taken away from European’s own circular economy ambitions. Without clear guidelines on how scrap should be recycled, there is no equal level playing field. Defining equivalent conditions through a delegated act is a must to ensure that such standards are maintained outside Europe. Losing valuable resources to competitors in countries with light regimes, European recyclers face the risk of job losses.
Construction & Demolition waste
We are pleased that the European Parliament has asked the EU Commission to consider setting targets for all construction and demolition waste regarding preparing for re-use and recycling. This would help clarify the difference between construction materials that are truly recycled and the ones that are backfilled rather than recycled. Backfilling is the permanent placement of the material on/in particular sites. Since it will not be returned to the economic material cycle, backfilling is part of a linear, not circular, economy.
Following the ITRE Opinion, the ENVI Committee recognised materials that can be recycled multiple times, such as metals including aluminium. Permanent materials play a central role in the circular economy because they can be recycled endlessly without losing their properties. This compromise amendment requires Member States to encourage the manufacturing of products with materials that can be recycled multiple times. It sends a strong signal to the EU Commission and Member States that multiple recycling should be encouraged as a way to reinforce the circular economy.