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Proposed recycling definition too rigid, says FEAD

Europe’s waste management industry has said that an EU proposal to restrict the measurement of waste to a single method is too rigid.

The European Commission’s circular economy package recommended that the input of materials for the final recycling process should be that measure “as a general rule”.

But it also allowed member states to report recycling rates on the basis of the output of sorting facilities, “under strict conditions”.

But in a draft response to the package, European Parliament rapporteur for the package, Simona Bonafe, has recommended that this additional reporting method should be removed.

Some industry figures backed Bonafe’s call, including the lobbying group European Environmental Bureau, which said that a single methodology for calculating recycling rates was “important to gain an accurate picture to better identify problems and opportunities”.

Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said the Bonafe amendment “states clearly the desire to settle on ’point of input to final recycling process’ as the correct point of measurement”.

But the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (Fead) said the additional reporting method should be retained because it is more practicable for some materials.

“Fead members wish to stress that both the input to the final recycling process and the output of a sorting plant should be equal alternatives because the method chosen will depend on the waste flows,” it said in a statement from secretary general Nadine De Greef (pictured).

“Separately collected kitchen waste or paper waste can enter final recycling processes without prior sorting, whereas measuring at the sorting plant works better where two or more dry recyclable materials are collected together and sent for sorting before reprocessing.

“Fead members therefore deem that measurement at the ’output of the sorting plant’ should remain possible because it will be the most reliable method in terms of statistics which serve as a basis for policy and business decisions.”

The association backed Bonafe’s distinction between ‘reuse’ and ‘prepare for reuse’ in the Waste Framework Directive, with the former not included in the calculation of the targets.

It also supported her calls for the Commission to present a comprehensive review of the Ecodesign Directive and for the use of economic instruments to drive secondary material markets.

However, it disagreed with her proposal for removing criteria on quantity in the definition of municipal waste, which it said could lead to some trade waste being included.

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