Reuse organisations say they will be lobbying EU member states and MEPs in a bid to modify the new proposals for a Circular Economy (CE).
The European umbrella group RREUSE, of which the UK’s Furniture Re-Use Network (FRN) is a member, says the package in its present form will not do enough to develop local reuse centres, create jobs and prevent reusable goods being sent to recycling or landfill.
The package of directives and other measures was launched by the European Commission on 2 December.
RREUSE claims that one-third of all material arriving at recycling centres could still be reused, at least a quarter of WEEE has significant reuse value and six million tonnes of textile waste is either landfilled or incinerated in the EU every year.
Director Michal Len said an emphasis on recycling within the EU had hit resource-efficient repair and reuse hard.
“The CE package was an opportunity to turn the tide but it’s missed the mark,” he said.
“While we welcome some of the encouraging language on opening up access for reuse organisations to waste collection facilities and the aspirations to boost repair by improving availability of spare parts and service manuals, there is precious little in the way of binding measures.
“Critically, despite a new proposed methodology there is no legally binding separate target for preparation for reuse, only encouragement for member states that want to do this. It’s vitally important that preparation for reuse becomes a clear part of the legal framework, not left as an afterthought for voluntary action.”
RREUSE is also concerned that proposed changes to the legal definition of preparation for reuse could adversely affect some organisations currently not subject to waste legislation and certain standards.
Craig Anderson, chief executive of FRN, said he generally welcomed the CE package, particularly an attempt to tackle climate change and environmental issues whilst boosting job creation, economic growth and social fairness. However, some proposed amendments would cause problems for those in the reuse sector.
“Reuse is not really about waste – it is about products being in service, safe and used by consumers. Although we work with waste infrastructure to get waste products out of waste streams, we cannot be put at risk by unduly burdensome misdirected policy decisions.
“It leaves us alarmed and begging the question ‘how can a ‘non-waste’ product legally be in scope of an EU waste directive?’”