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Politics

FEAD welcomes “Fit for 55” Package

In line with the EU Green Deal’s objectives, the waste management sector renews its commitment on climate and circular economy objectives, by stepping up its decisive contribution to a climate neutral economy.

FEAD notes that:

  • the increased effort to reduce emissions for the whole waste management sector will continue to be made under the Effort Sharing Regulation, which is a more appropriate tool for our sector compared to the EU ETS.
  • as investments to allow the industry to transition (i.e. through the uptake of low-carbon technologies) are needed, project-financing under the increased resources of the Innovation Fund is welcomed, and should be readily available to finance projects all along the waste value chain, including, inter alia, the potential implementation of CCS/CCU for waste-to-energy installations.
  • biomass derived from waste and related products play an important role in providing sustainable solutions to our economies, by allowing to use the energy potential from biodegradable residues. For this reason, we believe that the taxation of biomass-derived fuels under the proposal for revision of the Energy Taxation Directive should fully reflect their carbon neutrality, to acknowledge they key role they play in transitioning and not penalise their development.

In this regard, FEAD President, Peter Kurth stressed that: “The waste management sector plays a pivotal role in achieving the EU’s climate goals. For this reason, the set of proposals under the “fit for 55 package” is a major and ambitious step forward. To ensure the peculiarity of the waste management sector in Europe is fully recognised, the transition in waste management should be critically supported by public funding all along the waste management chain.

FEAD renews its commitment as an active partner in the upcoming discussions in the different legislative processes.

Ambitious Climate Agenda is key to Circular Economy

The substitution of extracted raw materials with Raw Materials from Recycling (RMR) saves massive amounts of GHG and energy, on top of being intrinsically resource efficient, and thus has a key role to play in supporting energy intensive industries to decarbonise and become more circular.

Using recycled steel, copper, or aluminium scrap saves respectively 58%, 65%, and 92% of CO2 when compared with extracted raw materials[1]. To exemplify the magnitude of these savings, in 2018, the use of 93.8 million tonnes of recycled scrap in steelmaking enabled the saving of 157 million tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to the emissions released by the automobile traffic in France, Great Britain and Belgium all together.

For Ms. Cinzia Vezzosi, President of EuRIC, “Climate policy and the circular economy goes hand-in-hand. Recyclers expect from the implementation of the Fit for 55 Package a high-level of ambition linked to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to support investments in climate neutral and circular industrial value chains. With only 12% of raw materials used by Europe’s industry coming from recycling[2], strong incentives such as mandatory recycled content or a better framed EU ETS are urgently needed to increase the demand for circular materials usage and send strong signals to the market”, she stressed.

Last but not least, it is equally essential to ensure that the right framework is in place to accelerate the transition towards a circular and climate-neutral economy, while protecting the competitiveness of Europe’s energy intensive industries. In that respect, reciprocity is important to meet the EU’s circular and climate objectives. “European recyclers call for the CBAM to adequately price the carbon footprint of imported semi-finished metal products, but also to level the playing field for raw materials (be them mined or recycled), which are sourced from non-European countries often under environmentally and socially poor conditions”, she added.

EuRIC looks forward to work with the European Parliament and the Council to support an ambitious implementation of the Fit for 55 Package.

Ambitious Climate Agenda is key to Circular Economy

The substitution of extracted raw materials with Raw Materials from Recycling (RMR) saves massive amounts of GHG and energy, on top of being intrinsically resource efficient, and thus has a key role to play in supporting energy intensive industries to decarbonise and become more circular.

Using recycled steel, copper, or aluminium scrap saves respectively 58%, 65%, and 92% of CO2 when compared with extracted raw materials[1]. To exemplify the magnitude of these savings, in 2018, the use of 93.8 million tonnes of recycled scrap in steelmaking enabled the saving of 157 million tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to the emissions released by the automobile traffic in France, Great Britain and Belgium all together.

For Ms. Cinzia Vezzosi, President of EuRIC, “Climate policy and the circular economy goes hand-in-hand. Recyclers expect from the implementation of the Fit for 55 Package a high-level of ambition linked to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to support investments in climate neutral and circular industrial value chains. With only 12% of raw materials used by Europe’s industry coming from recycling[2], strong incentives such as mandatory recycled content or a better framed EU ETS are urgently needed to increase the demand for circular materials usage and send strong signals to the market”, she stressed.

Last but not least, it is equally essential to ensure that the right framework is in place to accelerate the transition towards a circular and climate-neutral economy, while protecting the competitiveness of Europe’s energy intensive industries. In that respect, reciprocity is important to meet the EU’s circular and climate objectives. “European recyclers call for the CBAM to adequately price the carbon footprint of imported semi-finished metal products, but also to level the playing field for raw materials (be them mined or recycled), which are sourced from non-European countries often under environmentally and socially poor conditions”, she added.

EuRIC looks forward to work with the European Parliament and the Council to support an ambitious implementation of the Fit for 55 Package.

ZWE regrets decision of not including municipal incinerators under EU ETS revision

Gabi Schoenemann, pixelio.de

Zero Waste Europe regrets this decision that leaves a large number of highly polluting plants (500+) with no obligation to address their adverse climate change impact.

Municipal incinerators release large amounts of CO2 – over 52 million tonnes just in 2018. The emissions have increased by 288% between 1990-2017 (1), the equivalent of those coming from 13.4 coal-fired power plants.

Janek Vӓhk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator said: “The emissions from municipal incinerators have been growing uncontrollably. The EC decision is a lost opportunity to subject the high CO2 intensive industry to the ‘polluter pays’ principle to help encourage other more sustainable and low-carbon treatment options”.

Since municipal incinerators are not part of the ETS, fthe CO2 released by municipal incinerators will result in an unpaid cost to society of around €1,3 billion per year.

A new global report published by Tomra concluded that sorting materials from residual waste could save 0,73 billion tonnes of CO2 globally.

The exclusion of municipal incinerators is also undermining the decarbonisation efforts of Member States. The electricity produced by municipal incinerators is more carbon-intensive than electricity generated through the conventional use of fossil fuels such as gas; and, most importantly, it is twice the carbon intensity of the EU marginal electricity grid average.

“While the electricity grid should be decarbonising as a result of more renewable energy sources coming online, electricity produced at the incinerator is becoming a major climate issue undermining the further development of renewable energies in EU Member States”, continued Janek Vӓhk.

The experiences in countries that have applied a CO2 tax on incinerators show that this increases motivation for recycling options for those materials. Involving municipal incinerators in the ETS revision would also benefit renewable energy producers that currently have to unfairly compete with dirty energy from incinerators.

Since this is only the first step in the process of the revision of EU ETS, Zero Waste Europe calls on the European Parliament and the Council of the EC to amend this proposal and include municipal waste incinerators to make them pay for their emissions.

ZWE regrets decision of not including municipal incinerators under EU ETS revision

Gabi Schoenemann, pixelio.de

Zero Waste Europe regrets this decision that leaves a large number of highly polluting plants (500+) with no obligation to address their adverse climate change impact.

Municipal incinerators release large amounts of CO2 – over 52 million tonnes just in 2018. The emissions have increased by 288% between 1990-2017 (1), the equivalent of those coming from 13.4 coal-fired power plants.

Janek Vӓhk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator said: “The emissions from municipal incinerators have been growing uncontrollably. The EC decision is a lost opportunity to subject the high CO2 intensive industry to the ‘polluter pays’ principle to help encourage other more sustainable and low-carbon treatment options”.

Since municipal incinerators are not part of the ETS, fthe CO2 released by municipal incinerators will result in an unpaid cost to society of around €1,3 billion per year.

A new global report published by Tomra concluded that sorting materials from residual waste could save 0,73 billion tonnes of CO2 globally.

The exclusion of municipal incinerators is also undermining the decarbonisation efforts of Member States. The electricity produced by municipal incinerators is more carbon-intensive than electricity generated through the conventional use of fossil fuels such as gas; and, most importantly, it is twice the carbon intensity of the EU marginal electricity grid average.

“While the electricity grid should be decarbonising as a result of more renewable energy sources coming online, electricity produced at the incinerator is becoming a major climate issue undermining the further development of renewable energies in EU Member States”, continued Janek Vӓhk.

The experiences in countries that have applied a CO2 tax on incinerators show that this increases motivation for recycling options for those materials. Involving municipal incinerators in the ETS revision would also benefit renewable energy producers that currently have to unfairly compete with dirty energy from incinerators.

Since this is only the first step in the process of the revision of EU ETS, Zero Waste Europe calls on the European Parliament and the Council of the EC to amend this proposal and include municipal waste incinerators to make them pay for their emissions.

Commission presents package for “fit for 55”

Achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality. With today’s proposals, the Commission is presenting the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law and fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future.

Today’s proposals will enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade. They combine: application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks.

The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) puts a price on carbon and lowers the cap on emissions from certain economic sectors every year. It has successfully brought down emissions from power generation and energy-intensive industries by 42.8% in the past 16 years. Today the Commission is proposing to lower the overall emission cap even further and increase its annual rate of reduction. The Commission is also proposing to phase out free emission allowances for aviation and align with the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and to include shipping emissions for the first time in the EU ETS. To address the lack of emissions reductions in road transport and buildings, a separate new emissions trading system is set up for fuel distribution for road transport and buildings. The Commission also proposes to increase the size of the Innovation and Modernisation Funds.

To complement the substantial spending on climate in the EU budget, Member States should spend the entirety of their emissions trading revenues on climate and energy-related projects. A dedicated part of the revenues from the new system for road transport and buildings should address the possible social impact on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users.

The Effort Sharing Regulation assigns strengthened emissions reduction targets to each Member State for buildings, road and domestic maritime transport, agriculture, waste and small industries. Recognising the different starting points and capacities of each Member State, these targets are based on their GDP per capita, with adjustments made to take cost efficiency into account.

Member States also share responsibility for removing carbon from the atmosphere, so the Regulation on Land Use, Forestry and Agriculture sets an overall EU target for carbon removals by natural sinks, equivalent to 310 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030. National targets will require Member States to care for and expand their carbon sinks to meet this target. By 2035, the EU should aim to reach climate neutrality in the land use, forestry and agriculture sectors, including also agricultural non-CO2 emissions, such as those from fertiliser use and livestock. The EU Forest Strategy aims to improve the quality, quantity and resilience of EU forests. It supports foresters and the forest-based bioeconomy while keeping harvesting and biomass use sustainable, preserving biodiversity, and setting out a plan to plant three billion trees across Europe by 2030.

Energy production and use accounts for 75% of EU emissions, so accelerating the transition to a greener energy system is crucial. The Renewable Energy Directive will set an increased target to produce 40% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. All Member States will contribute to this goal, and specific targets are proposed for renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry. To meet both our climate and environmental goals, sustainability criteria for the use of bioenergy are strengthened and Member States must design any support schemes for bioenergy in a way that respects the cascading principle of uses for woody biomass.

To reduce overall energy use, cut emissions and tackle energy poverty, the Energy Efficiency Directive will set a more ambitious binding annual target for reducing energy use at EU level. It will guide how national contributions are established and almost double the annual energy saving obligation for Member States. The public sector will be required to renovate 3% of its buildings each year to drive the renovation wave, create jobs and bring down energy use and costs to the taxpayer.

A combination of measures is required to tackle rising emissions in road transport to complement emissions trading. Stronger CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans will accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility by requiring average emissions of new cars to come down by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. As a result, all new cars registered as of 2035 will be zero-emission. To ensure that drivers are able to charge or fuel their vehicles at a reliable network across Europe, the revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will require Member States to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales, and to install charging and fuelling points at regular intervals on major highways: every 60 kilometres for electric charging and every 150 kilometres for hydrogen refuelling.

Aviation and maritime fuels cause significant pollution and also require dedicated action to complement emissions trading. The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation requires that aircraft and ships have access to clean electricity supply in major ports and airports. The ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative will oblige fuel suppliers to blend increasing levels of sustainable aviation fuels in jet fuel taken on-board at EU airports, including synthetic low carbon fuels, known as e-fuels. Similarly, the FuelEU Maritime Initiative will stimulate the uptake of sustainable maritime fuels and zero-emission technologies by setting a maximum limit on the greenhouse gas content of energy used by ships calling at European ports.

The tax system for energy products must safeguard and improve the Single Market and support the green transition by setting the right incentives. A revision of the Energy Taxation Directive proposes to align the taxation of energy products with EU energy and climate policies, promoting clean technologies and removing outdated exemptions and reduced rates that currently encourage the use of fossil fuels. The new rules aim at reducing the harmful effects of energy tax competition, helping secure revenues for Member States from green taxes, which are less detrimental to growth than taxes on labour.

Finally, a new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will put a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products to ensure that ambitious climate action in Europe does not lead to ‘carbon leakage’. This will ensure that European emission reductions contribute to a global emissions decline, instead of pushing carbon-intensive production outside Europe. It also aims to encourage industry outside the EU and our international partners to take steps in the same direction.

While in the medium- to long-term, the benefits of EU climate policies clearly outweigh the costs of this transition, climate policies risk putting extra pressure on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users in the short run. The design of the policies in today’s package therefore fairly spreads the costs of tackling and adapting to climate change.

In addition, carbon pricing instruments raise revenues that can be reinvested to spur innovation, economic growth, and investments in clean technologies. A new Social Climate Fund is proposed to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility. The Social Climate Fund would be financed by the EU budget, using an amount equivalent to 25% of the expected revenues of emissions trading for building and road transport fuels. It will provide €72.2 billion of funding to Member States, for the period 2025-2032, based on a targeted amendment to the multiannual financial framework. With a proposal to draw on matching Member State funding, the Fund would mobilise €144.4 billion for a socially fair transition.

The benefits of acting now to protect people and the planet are clear: cleaner air, cooler and greener towns and cities, healthier citizens, lower energy use and bills, European jobs, technologies and industrial opportunities, more space for nature, and a healthier planet to hand over to future generations. The challenge at the heart of Europe’s green transition is to make sure the benefits and opportunities that come with it are available to all, as quickly and as fairly as possible. By using the different policy tools available at EU level we can make sure that the pace of change is sufficient, but not overly disruptive.

Commission presents package for “fit for 55”

Achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality. With today’s proposals, the Commission is presenting the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law and fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future.

Today’s proposals will enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade. They combine: application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks.

The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) puts a price on carbon and lowers the cap on emissions from certain economic sectors every year. It has successfully brought down emissions from power generation and energy-intensive industries by 42.8% in the past 16 years. Today the Commission is proposing to lower the overall emission cap even further and increase its annual rate of reduction. The Commission is also proposing to phase out free emission allowances for aviation and align with the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and to include shipping emissions for the first time in the EU ETS. To address the lack of emissions reductions in road transport and buildings, a separate new emissions trading system is set up for fuel distribution for road transport and buildings. The Commission also proposes to increase the size of the Innovation and Modernisation Funds.

To complement the substantial spending on climate in the EU budget, Member States should spend the entirety of their emissions trading revenues on climate and energy-related projects. A dedicated part of the revenues from the new system for road transport and buildings should address the possible social impact on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users.

The Effort Sharing Regulation assigns strengthened emissions reduction targets to each Member State for buildings, road and domestic maritime transport, agriculture, waste and small industries. Recognising the different starting points and capacities of each Member State, these targets are based on their GDP per capita, with adjustments made to take cost efficiency into account.

Member States also share responsibility for removing carbon from the atmosphere, so the Regulation on Land Use, Forestry and Agriculture sets an overall EU target for carbon removals by natural sinks, equivalent to 310 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030. National targets will require Member States to care for and expand their carbon sinks to meet this target. By 2035, the EU should aim to reach climate neutrality in the land use, forestry and agriculture sectors, including also agricultural non-CO2 emissions, such as those from fertiliser use and livestock. The EU Forest Strategy aims to improve the quality, quantity and resilience of EU forests. It supports foresters and the forest-based bioeconomy while keeping harvesting and biomass use sustainable, preserving biodiversity, and setting out a plan to plant three billion trees across Europe by 2030.

Energy production and use accounts for 75% of EU emissions, so accelerating the transition to a greener energy system is crucial. The Renewable Energy Directive will set an increased target to produce 40% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. All Member States will contribute to this goal, and specific targets are proposed for renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry. To meet both our climate and environmental goals, sustainability criteria for the use of bioenergy are strengthened and Member States must design any support schemes for bioenergy in a way that respects the cascading principle of uses for woody biomass.

To reduce overall energy use, cut emissions and tackle energy poverty, the Energy Efficiency Directive will set a more ambitious binding annual target for reducing energy use at EU level. It will guide how national contributions are established and almost double the annual energy saving obligation for Member States. The public sector will be required to renovate 3% of its buildings each year to drive the renovation wave, create jobs and bring down energy use and costs to the taxpayer.

A combination of measures is required to tackle rising emissions in road transport to complement emissions trading. Stronger CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans will accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility by requiring average emissions of new cars to come down by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. As a result, all new cars registered as of 2035 will be zero-emission. To ensure that drivers are able to charge or fuel their vehicles at a reliable network across Europe, the revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will require Member States to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales, and to install charging and fuelling points at regular intervals on major highways: every 60 kilometres for electric charging and every 150 kilometres for hydrogen refuelling.

Aviation and maritime fuels cause significant pollution and also require dedicated action to complement emissions trading. The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation requires that aircraft and ships have access to clean electricity supply in major ports and airports. The ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative will oblige fuel suppliers to blend increasing levels of sustainable aviation fuels in jet fuel taken on-board at EU airports, including synthetic low carbon fuels, known as e-fuels. Similarly, the FuelEU Maritime Initiative will stimulate the uptake of sustainable maritime fuels and zero-emission technologies by setting a maximum limit on the greenhouse gas content of energy used by ships calling at European ports.

The tax system for energy products must safeguard and improve the Single Market and support the green transition by setting the right incentives. A revision of the Energy Taxation Directive proposes to align the taxation of energy products with EU energy and climate policies, promoting clean technologies and removing outdated exemptions and reduced rates that currently encourage the use of fossil fuels. The new rules aim at reducing the harmful effects of energy tax competition, helping secure revenues for Member States from green taxes, which are less detrimental to growth than taxes on labour.

Finally, a new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will put a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products to ensure that ambitious climate action in Europe does not lead to ‘carbon leakage’. This will ensure that European emission reductions contribute to a global emissions decline, instead of pushing carbon-intensive production outside Europe. It also aims to encourage industry outside the EU and our international partners to take steps in the same direction.

While in the medium- to long-term, the benefits of EU climate policies clearly outweigh the costs of this transition, climate policies risk putting extra pressure on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users in the short run. The design of the policies in today’s package therefore fairly spreads the costs of tackling and adapting to climate change.

In addition, carbon pricing instruments raise revenues that can be reinvested to spur innovation, economic growth, and investments in clean technologies. A new Social Climate Fund is proposed to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility. The Social Climate Fund would be financed by the EU budget, using an amount equivalent to 25% of the expected revenues of emissions trading for building and road transport fuels. It will provide €72.2 billion of funding to Member States, for the period 2025-2032, based on a targeted amendment to the multiannual financial framework. With a proposal to draw on matching Member State funding, the Fund would mobilise €144.4 billion for a socially fair transition.

The benefits of acting now to protect people and the planet are clear: cleaner air, cooler and greener towns and cities, healthier citizens, lower energy use and bills, European jobs, technologies and industrial opportunities, more space for nature, and a healthier planet to hand over to future generations. The challenge at the heart of Europe’s green transition is to make sure the benefits and opportunities that come with it are available to all, as quickly and as fairly as possible. By using the different policy tools available at EU level we can make sure that the pace of change is sufficient, but not overly disruptive.

Design for Chemical Recycling kills Innovation Upstream

Even if 40 % of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is about 10-15%. Only 5% of the value of plastic packaging material is estimated to be retained in the economy.

Why? Because, although they are claimed to be, most plastic packaging today is not designed for reuse and recycling or recyclable. Plastic products, which are increasingly being marketed with misleading claims, need to be designed for mechanical recycling in order to have an effective collection throughout the EU.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, says:

“Designing for chemical recycling’ endangers actual recyclability of plastics and hinder the efforts to phase out those hard-to-recycle. Considering the high environmental impact, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort”.

A harmonised and enforceable definition and criteria for recyclability of plastics must build on real recovering, i.e. existing, widespread, and scaled operations. We must design products to be treated through sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon operations. The EU must avoid diverting plastics to chemical recycling by ensuring they are either reused or designed for mechanical recycling.

We, therefore, recommend:

  1. Establish a clear harmonised definition of recyclability that combines qualitative definition, quantitative criteria and implementing legislation which specify design-for-recycling criteria
  2. Strengthen enforcement of the essential requirements in the revised PPWD Directive and a bonus-malus and eco-modulation fee system complemented with clear restrictions
  3. Ensure that recyclability is assessed on the basis of best available technology with respect to a ‘waste recycling hierarchy’, i.e. priority is given to mechanical recycling with no competition with other technologies for the same plastic waste stream
  4. Replace the ‘green dot’ and strengthen recyclability claims towards consumers by introducing a mandatory, traceable label

“A strong push towards a truly circular design is needed to prepare plastics for reuse and recycling according to the most environmentally sound options and avoid carbon-intensive treatment, such as pyrolysis and gasification. Plastic packaging should be designed for mechanical recycling, and have effective collection and sorting systems throughout the EU”, states Vähk.

Read the full report

Design for Chemical Recycling kills Innovation Upstream

Even if 40 % of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is about 10-15%. Only 5% of the value of plastic packaging material is estimated to be retained in the economy.

Why? Because, although they are claimed to be, most plastic packaging today is not designed for reuse and recycling or recyclable. Plastic products, which are increasingly being marketed with misleading claims, need to be designed for mechanical recycling in order to have an effective collection throughout the EU.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, says:

“Designing for chemical recycling’ endangers actual recyclability of plastics and hinder the efforts to phase out those hard-to-recycle. Considering the high environmental impact, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort”.

A harmonised and enforceable definition and criteria for recyclability of plastics must build on real recovering, i.e. existing, widespread, and scaled operations. We must design products to be treated through sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon operations. The EU must avoid diverting plastics to chemical recycling by ensuring they are either reused or designed for mechanical recycling.

We, therefore, recommend:

  1. Establish a clear harmonised definition of recyclability that combines qualitative definition, quantitative criteria and implementing legislation which specify design-for-recycling criteria
  2. Strengthen enforcement of the essential requirements in the revised PPWD Directive and a bonus-malus and eco-modulation fee system complemented with clear restrictions
  3. Ensure that recyclability is assessed on the basis of best available technology with respect to a ‘waste recycling hierarchy’, i.e. priority is given to mechanical recycling with no competition with other technologies for the same plastic waste stream
  4. Replace the ‘green dot’ and strengthen recyclability claims towards consumers by introducing a mandatory, traceable label

“A strong push towards a truly circular design is needed to prepare plastics for reuse and recycling according to the most environmentally sound options and avoid carbon-intensive treatment, such as pyrolysis and gasification. Plastic packaging should be designed for mechanical recycling, and have effective collection and sorting systems throughout the EU”, states Vähk.

Read the full report

SUP Directive: Negative consequences of strict deadlines on EU Single Market

National legislators are currently rushing into their legislative activities in the attempt of meeting the strict timeline set at EU level.

“The Commission should have realised the disruptive impact of the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive on businesses and how lengthy national legislative processes can be. Those changes cannot be done overnight and the fragmentation of the EU single market is now an unavoidable scenario having severe consequences on employment and businesses losses in the EU”, said Alexandre Dangis, EuPC Managing Director.

The Single-Use Plastics Directive is a peculiar piece of European legislation that leaves considerable room for interpretation to the national legislators. Member States are developing dissimilar understandings of many pivotal concepts, which will eventually cause the impossibility to preserve the ultimate goal of the harmonization throughout the European Union.

The differences among EU Member States are substantial, both in regard to the timeline of the transposition and the content of the legislative acts themselves. Many countries already proceeded with the notification to the European Commission of the draft texts for the transposition. Among others, France decided to take some distance from the provisions of the Directive and, after gathering the feedback of many concerned stakeholders, one of the notified texts was recently sent back to the national legislator for amendment, causing further delays. Italy might be the only country to take the questionable decision of excluding bio-based plastic products from the scope of the transposition law, while in Sweden the delay seems to be an unavoidable scenario due to the extremely high number of responses that the draft text of the national law received from the stakeholders. Many countries like Romania and Bulgaria have not made yet real steps towards the transposition.

If timely provided, the long-debated Guidelines could have represented a great instrument for Member States to build together a unified framework in the context of the national transposition. However, the guidance was only published at the end of May, just one month before the deadline for transposition, causing the document to lose its very raison d’être.

“The entire world is still paying the consequences of the outbreak of the pandemic, which, in the past year, has represented the main element of focus and concern both at EU and national level. Allowing a shift of the deadline as requested by our industry at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic could have granted the EU Member States enough time to properly consider all the legislative options, work on harmonization and properly exploit the clarifications provided by the Guidelines and the other implementing acts still” according to Dangis.
Now the focus will be put on supporting national stakeholders in their battle for a fair transposition of the Directive, trying to limit, to the extent possible, the expected negative consequences of those unprecedently rushed transposition processes which is only work for lawyers and eurocrats.