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Umbrella bodies call for Europe-wide recognition of recycling and waste industry’s key role

25.03.2020 − 

The umbrella organisations Euric and FEAD call on decisionmakers in Europe to recognise the essential role of the recycling and waste management industry in protecting human health and the environment and in ensuring the supply of secondary raw materials. In separate statements, they call on competent authorities to ensure that workers involved in the collection, treatment and transport of waste are provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). They also underline the need for more flexible working hours and for ensuring that employees benefit from child care arrangements for key workers.

Euric calls for formal recognition of the critical and strategic role of the waste management and recycling industry in all EU member states, as is already the case in some of them. The recycling industry umbrella body calls on the European Commission to draw up an EU-wide list of strategic/critical sectors and to include the recycling and waste industry in it.

Transboundary shipments 

Euric further recommends targeted derogations from normal rules in specific areas, such as trade and logistics including transboundary shipments. There is "an absolute need to protect cross-border movement of secondary raw materials", irrespective of whether they are classified as waste or products. It is necessary to ensure the raw materials supply for European production facilities which are still operating, for instance in the steel and non-ferrous metals, paper and plastics industries, according to the organisation.

FEAD, too, underlined the importance of transfrontier waste deliveries within the EU. "Waste chains rely on cross-border shipments, as is the case with most logistics chains in any EU industry", and also because many member states do not have the full range of treatment facilities to treat all types of waste. The organisation, which represents the private waste management industry in Europe, recommends authorising notified shipments to change their routes if necessary to facilitate shipments and avoid possible delays at borders and "blocking the chain".

Eligibility for state aid

A significant share of European recycling companies are currently facing significant economic and licensing problems leading to liquidity shortages "that can quickly become an existential threat, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises", according to Euric. The organisation calls for the recycling and waste management sector to be eligible for state aid and to be included in any "legally-compliant list drawn up for such purposes". These include schemes to support companies in financial difficulty, such as temporary tax exemptions and other measures resulting in financial relief.

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