Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) has added its voice to a cross-industry call for recycling rates to be measured at the point of input into the “final recycling process”.
PRE joined with other trade associations representing Europe‘s non-ferrous metals, steel and paper recycling industries in asking the European Commission to develop a harmonised method to measure recycling rates in order to promote material recovery and quality recycling.
In a joint statement referring to the Commission's Waste Framework Directive, the associations said: “We support the European Commission and European Parliament proposals on this subject.”
They pointed out that EU Member States use different methods for calculating national recycling rates, on the amounts of waste collected or sorted, for example.
They said: “In a true circular economy, materials in products should be properly recovered and recycled, for use in new product life-cycles. The Commission's proposal to measure real recycling rates across all Member States is an important step to promote material recovery and guarantee its supply into the ‘final recycling process‘.”
There are a series of benefits to measuring recycling rates at input into the final recycling process, according to the associations. These are:
• Promoting material recovery from waste and end-of-life products, by avoiding that the collected and sorted waste which gets landfilled, incinerated or exported is counted as recycled.
• Identifying a final recycling step, where material is recovered from waste and is able to substitute primary material in a new product life-cycle. All actors of the recycling value chain make key contributions to the reprocessing of waste into products or materials. Recycling rates should measure the true rate of material recovered from waste.
• Allowing a benchmark of progress, by implementing a harmonised method for all Member States (although the associations acknowledge that some might have more difficulty achieving recycling targets).
The associations said they would like the European Parliament and Member States to safeguard the Commission's proposal for measuring real recycling rates when they come to review proposals.
The group consists of PRE, EuPC, Confederation of European Paper Industries, Eurometaux and Eurofer.