Recyclers are urging MEPs to reconsider proposed legislation for disposing of unsold goods, saying they undervalue recycling as a potential route.
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) has welcomed the adoption by Parliament of Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) which for specific product groups aims to improve their circularity, energy performance and other environmental sustainability aspects. It also looks to outlaw the destruction of unsold goods, most notably by high-end fashion businesses.
EuRIC says there is significant room for improvement through eco-design criteria with only around 12% of current material resources stemming from recycled materials.
‘ESPR will drive proper design that will not only allow for products to be easily repaired and reused, but it will also facilitate disassembly and recycling at the end of life,’ says Emmanuel Katrakis, secretary general of EuRIC. ‘Ultimately, it shall boost the use of recycled materials back into products through ambitious recycled content targets that are essential to drive eco-design and boost circular value chains.’
However, Katrakis is concerned by a provision that introduces recycling as a form of destruction when it comes to banning the destruction of unsold goods.
‘We fully support the ban on the destruction of unsold goods and the emphasis placed on following the waste hierarchy. However, we strongly believe that equating recycling with destruction is conceptually wrong.’
EuRIC believes that where remanufacturing or preparation for reuse is not possible for unsold goods, recycling should not be excluded as an option because recycling is also a recovery operation, unlike incineration and landfilling which are both about disposal.