Restrictions on recycled metal trade created by end-of-waste criteria could be eased if proposals in a recent European Commission backed report are adopted. The report, from the ECs joint research centre IPTS, has suggested a method to define when various materials stop being waste.
The IPTS conducted three case studies to determine when the definition for end-of-waste should apply. It looked at metals (iron, steel and aluminium), compost and aggregates and examined whether there was a common methodology which could be used. It also proposed specific criteria that might define end-of-waste positions for each material.
Proposals to revise the end-of-waste definitions were strongly welcomed by the British Metal Recycling Association, European Ferrous Recovery & Recycling Federation and Eurometrec at a meeting in Budapest, earlier this week.
BMRA director general Lindsay Millington described the IPTS's methodology as "sensible" and added: "Once metal has been properly collected, separated and placed on the market, it is not a risk to the environment and has a high value. There is no case to label it as waste.
"The current definition puts European metal recyclers at a disadvantage in the world market, since it places restrictions on trade that our main competitors (Russia, Japan and the United States) do not have to consider. This is a particular concern for BMRA members, since nearly half of all Europes recovered metal exports come from the UK. We are pleased that IPTS has recognised these issues and are very keen to see the reports recommendations adopted in European law.
The proposals will be considered at a meeting of European Commission and member states government representatives later this month.
EFR and Eurometrec also said they were available and ready to assist the EU and national authorities in supporting recycled metal consumers (for example steelworks, foundries and smelters) in taking up the new en-of-waste criteria proposed by IPTS.