The European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on critical raw materials (CRMs) has been welcomed by recyclers but they are warning it should be part of a wider policy approach including targets for recycled content in products.
The EU recycling sector’s umbrella group EuRIC says regulation of CRMs is ‘a step in the right direction’ towards reducing reliance on CRMs from outside the EU and enhancing EU supply chain resiliency and security. ‘European recyclers strongly support the 15% target of such materials coming from European recycling,’ says EuRIC secretary general Emmanuel Katrakis.
‘However, the establishment of robust targets for recycled content in end-products is essential. This will accelerate demand for recycled CRMs and must be an essential component of any future implementing legislation. The inclusion of a recycled content target for permanent magnets is a good start but must be extended to other end-products using CRMs.’
EuRIC insists the success of achieving such targets relies heavily on measures that both level the playing field with extracted raw materials and boost European research and innovation to upscale EU recycling capabilities. Nor must the CRM proposal be considered in isolation from the wide range of other EU legislative initiatives that could either suppress or boost recycling and the circular economy,’ it argues.
These include the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation and expected revisions of the end-of-life vehicle and WEEE directives. Collection targets and new and enhanced technologies are imperative for ensuring that CRMs are effectively recovered for recycling, the recyclers maintain.
‘Funding and access to finance for investments in CRM recycling projects will therefore be critical in spurring these much-needed technological advancements, boosting a climate-neutral and circular economy as well as homegrown European innovation.’
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