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Waste shipment proposals ‘threaten jobs’

Proposed changes to the waste shipment regulations in Europe risk significant job losses and will hamper investment in the EU’s circular economy sector, insist recyclers.

The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) has issued what it calls ‘a stark warning’ to European policymakers. Emmanuel Katrakis, secretary general of EuRIC, says policymakers have a choice. ‘Are they on the same side as a sector at the forefront of championing a European circular economy? Or do they want to encourage the extraction of raw materials over recycling? Waste shipment rules must change course to encourage free, fair and sustainable trade of recycled materials.’

EuRIC supports waste shipment restrictions that discourage the export from the EU of problematic waste such as mixed plastic, unprocessed tyres, batteries and vehicles. But it is concerned that current proposals from the European Commission incentivise the extraction of raw materials, a significant source of pollution, over recycling.

‘Not only will this hinder Europe’s ability achieve its recycling and net-zero emissions targets but “green” job losses will also be unavoidable and investment in Europe’s circular economy will be significantly curtailed,’ argues EuRIC.

It points out that European recyclers already contribute EUR 95 billion EUR in turnover to Europe’s economy. Up 80% of metal and paper recyclers say they anticipate a reduction in turnover under current waste shipment proposals. More than 300 000 EU green jobs are sustained by the sector, yet up to 50% of metal and paper recyclers warn that job losses will be inevitable.

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