The Resource Association (RA) has welcomed the agreement between the European Council and European Parliament on the circular economy package, although it has called for more progress on the methodology for calculating recycling rates.
Chief executive Ray Georgeson congratulated the Estonian presidency leading difficult negotiations to a conclusion in the early hours of 18 December on the package that is expected to be ratified in the new year.
“In reaching a compromise agreement, the inevitable outcome has been a mixed bag of decisions,” he said.
”Higher recycling targets are to be applauded as they set the direction of travel and, combined with some further efforts on waste prevention, take us further forward – but not as far or as quick as many would wish.”
Georgeson said the deal was probably the best that could have been achieved in the circumstances. But he added that a proposed methodology that relies on ’average loss rates’ in final sorting left too much scope for individual states to interpret recycling rates in their own way.
“We will continue to urge the European Commission to keep this issue under close review, and hope that the parliament will also do likewise and ensure we make further progress on counting recycling correctly.
“On extended producer responsibility, we note the desire for full cost recovery from producers to become a European standard and await further consideration of this from the UK Government as they proceed to review their resources and waste strategy that a policy of full cost recovery from waste producers under extended producer responsibility could be taken on board by the UK.
“There is a danger that the proposed flexible target setting for member states will diminish the potential to realise better recycling of key materials.” Georgeson said.
RA chairman Robbie Warden said the deal should be used as a platform for progress, and “to continue to make the case for expanded quality recycling in the UK, integrated with new thinking and policy on industrial development in the UK and wider EU, to create more demand for recyclate in markets and manufacturing closer to home”.