The urgent need to implement the EU’s circular economy agenda was a key message from an online conference organised by European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) and the European Parliament intergroup on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.
Nearly 400 participants heard MEP Maria Spyraki stress the importance of a holistic approach, starting from eco-design to the effective implementation of targets, in order to make the new Circular Economy Action Plan (Ceap) happen.
Mattia Pellegrini, head of the waste management and secondary materials unit at DG Environment set out the Commission’s agenda in delivering the range of regulatory measures anticipated by the European Green Deal and the Ceap.
During the panel discussion, MEP Catherine Chabaud emphasised the vital role played by recycling in protecting the marine environment. EuRic vice-president Olivier Francois, and director of market development and innovation at the Galloo Group, highlighted the importance of eco-design to ease end-of-life recycling, coupled with incentives and targets for recycled content to level the playing field with virgin materials.
Stephane Arditi, director of policy integration and circular economy at the European Environmental Bureau, echoed this by saying it was essential to better reward the environmental benefits of secondary raw materials in terms of GHG and energy savings. But she reminded the conference that waste prevention should always come first.
Hans van de Nes, president of the EuRIC recovered paper branch (ERPA), wanted more progress on harmonised end-of-waste criteria for paper to boost a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials and to reward quality.
He also called for better enforcement of European waste legislation, in particular separate collections, and simpler and faster waste shipment procedures using electronic procedures to improve traceability and confidentiality. He said this would free resources within the enforcement authorities to better combat illegal shipments.
Emmanuel Katrakis, wrapped up the debate by calling for measures to ensure that Europe’s recycling industry remains competitive both in the EU and globally. It was critical, he added, that Europe’s Recovery Plan was effectively implemented across member states to scale up recycling capacity and invest in industrial value chains that are both circular and climate neutral.
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