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Call for EU help on complex waste streams

Plastics recycling groups across Europe, including the British Plastics Federation, have called for more help in producing secondary raw materials from complex vehicle and electronic waste.

Recycling companies including MBA Polymers and Axion Polymers have joined a list of signatories urging EU-wide action on the procurement and cross-border shipments to promote a circular economy (CE) in the end-of-life vehicles and waste electrical and electronic equipment sectors.

It is argued that the current producer responsibility legislation has created an ‘arms-length’ position that hampers the take-back, collection and recycling of materials and the design, procurement and sales of new products.

A wish-list has been published which urges:

  • A fast-track notification procedure to allow compliant recyclers to get better access to these complex materials from other EU countries
  • New measures to pull demand for post-consumer recycled content
  • Recognition of the competence of pre-consented and verified facilities within the EU

The industry argues that, while targets are in place for the collection of end-of-life products, a missing link in the CE is the communication between recycling companies and the producers of durable products.

Signatories say this could take the form of public procurement rules to enforce a change towards products that contain well-defined material quantities.

EU member states should implement positive, reward-based drivers to encourage product manufacturers in the private sector to specify and use recycled materials, especially plastics. Companies that make changes could be given increased R&D and/or capital investment tax allowances.

The recyclers say a key area to be recognised during the transition from a linear manufacturing economy to a CE one is that the ‘urban mine’ already contains materials and additives that are no longer desirable in modern products, such as older vehicles.


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