Europe – There is ‘substantial room for improvement in the method chosen by the European Parliament to measure recycling rates’, according to the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC).
‘Measuring recycling targets at the input of production processes runs against the objective of accurate and uniform statistics across the EU,’ EuRIC insists in the wake of the European Parliament’s adoption of draft legislation on municipal waste. ‘It is in most instances impossible to trace back the origin of the waste stream(s) for which targets have been set, contrary to the output-based method proposed by the European Commission.’
‘Recyclers support ambitious recycling targets and have a vested interest in uniform rules to measure real recycling rates,’ says EuRIC’s secretary general Emmanuel Katrakis. ‘This is crucial to stop counting as recycled waste ultimately landfilled or incinerated.’ Only waste turned into secondary raw materials from recycling should be counted as recycled, it is argued.
The European Parliament’s approach ‘confuses two distinct steps in the value chains, namely recycling and manufacturing, the latter using both virgin and recycled materials’, EuRIC contends. At the input of production processes, setting targets for recycled content enabling measurement of the proportion of recycled materials used to manufacture new semi-finished products or goods ‘would be much more effective to convert linear supply chains into genuinely circular ones’, the organisation argues.
‘Such targets will act as a catalyst to pull the demand for recycled materials.’ Among the other measures approved by the European Parliament, EuRIC welcomes more stringent obligations linked to separate collection of recyclables which, the recycling body says, ‘is a key driver for quality raw materials from recycling’.