The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (Euric) sees the need for “substantial improvements” to the current proposal for the Waste Shipment Regulation to address the “fundamental shortcomings” of the text put forward by the EU Commission. The most significant problem identified by the umbrella group was a failure to adequately distinguish between unprocessed and processed wastes – or “raw materials from recycling”.
The European Commission tabled its proposed extensive amendments to the Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) in November of last year. It seeks to put in place stricter rules governing exports to countries outside the OECD and ensure that treatment standards in these destination countries are comparable to those in Europe, and accepted that this might lead to a reduction in exports of recyclables to third countries.
Euric is particularly concerned about the impact the changes might have on exports of scrap metal and argues that the failure to distinguish between recyclate meeting specifications and other waste streams could not be justified. “Putting in the same basket recycled metals with unprocessed plastic waste is like mixing apples with oranges”, said Olivier François, president of Euric. It both negated decades of investments made by the European metal recycling industry in building up a capacity to recover metals from waste and the utmost need to remain competitive in a raw material market which is intrinsically global, added the organisation.
Subjecting scrap metal which had undergone mechanical recycling to export restrictions would lead directly to “the closure of metal recycling facilities in Europe, and diversion of investments to non-EU countries benefiting from a strong internal demand and unhampered access to international markets”. Ultimately, there would be a substantial drop of the supply of raw materials from recycling for the European metal industry, and not an increase. “This would in turn render complex value chains in the EU more dependent on extracted raw materials which deplete natural resources and contribute to global warming”, according to Euric....