European recyclers: Restricting exports could end Circular Economy


Nearly 300 European national federations and companies from the recycling industry have issued a powerful warning to European Union leaders over the potentially disastrous effects of a blanket restriction on exports of Raw Materials from Recycling (RMR) in the upcoming Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR).

RMR are currently labelled as non-hazardous waste under EU law and would therefore be impacted by any regulation that issues a blanket ban on waste. In fact, RMR are not waste but high-quality commodities with a green carbon footprint. They are materials recovered from old products that go into making new ones and as such are an essential component of Europe’s – and the international community’s – circular economy.

With only 12% of raw materials used coming from recycling, the EU’s industry remains mostly linear, as opposed to circular, the co-signatories urge the EU to ensure that:

  1. Export restrictions foreseen in the revised WSR solely target problematic waste streams: a “one-size-fits-all” solution whereby no distinction is made between untreated problematic waste streams and RMR that can be used directly in circular value chains will run against the very objectives of the EU Green Deal;
  2. Free and fair trade of RMR, which is essential to the competitiveness of the European recycling industry, is upheld: restricting exports of raw materials meeting quality specifications based on their waste classification will significantly impact the competitiveness of the European recycling industry;
  3. A stable legislative framework with a proper classification for RMR and incentives is implemented to reward the environmental benefits of circular materials and mandate their use in products.

Source: Recycling Magazine




Author: Kirsi Seppänen