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Waste Framework Directive: European material industries call for measurement of real recycling rates
Europe‘s metals, steel, paper, and plastics recyclers industries are united in calling for a harmonised method to measure recycling rates at input into the 'final recycling process', so as to promote material recovery and thus quality recycling. We support the European Commission and European Parliament proposals on this subject.
In Europe, Member States use different methods for calculating national recycling rates, making comparison difficult. Some base their calculations on waste collected or sorted, while much of that waste will still be incinerated, landfilled or exported without guarantee of proper treatment.
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‘.
Why measure at input into the final recycling process?
Measuring recycling rates at input into the final recycling process has the following benefits:
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 some might now have more difficulty achieving recycling targets)
During their review of EU waste legislation, MEPs and Member States should safeguard the European Commission’s proposal for measuring real recycling rates. This is an essential step to promoting material recovery across European sectors.
Annex – How are different sectors structured?
It is important to note that in some sectors, the same operator conducts multiple steps in the recycling value chain; for example both the sorting and the final recycling step. In others, each step is conducted by a different operator.
This has no influence on where to measure the recycling rate (which should always be conducted at input into the operation that will allow for substitution of the primary material). For that reason, our model of the recycling value chain can be applied across all waste streams.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) represents 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe and 920 paper mills. The sector uses a renewable resource, wood, from sustainably-managed forests as well as paper for recycling as its raw material. With a recycling rate of 72% (2015), we are a strong contributor to the circular economy and the bioeconomy.
Contact Person: Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eurometaux is the decisive voice of non-ferrous metals producers and recyclers in Europe. With an annual turnover of €120bn, our members represent an essential industry for European society that businesses in almost every sector depend on. Together, we are leading Europe towards a more circular future through the endlessly recyclable potential of metals.
Contact Person: Annick Carpentier, Sustainability Director – email@example.com
The European Steel Association (EUROFER) is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.
Contact Person: Aurelio Braconi, Raw Materials and Scrap Market – firstname.lastname@example.org
About Plastics Recyclers Europe
Plastics Recyclers Europe represent National Associations and Individual Member Companies covering 80% of the European market. We focus on the promotion of plastics recycling and the creation of conditions which enable profitable and sustainable business.
Contact person: Antonino Furfari, Director – email@example.com
The paper packaging industry’s on Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (PPWD) and Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (WFD)
Paper Packaging Coordination Group (PPCG)
The Paper Packaging Coordination Group comprises the major European paper and board packaging associations representing the interests of a wide range of packaging products used in transport, retail and consumer packaging. Paper and board packaging is based on a renewable resource (the forest) and is recyclable. We support the concept of a circular economy in which raw materials are sourced from renewable, responsibly-managed resources and recycled after use.
1. Recycling targets for paper and board
• The proposed targets are ambitious, reflect technical and economic realities and can be achieved.
• Packaging recycling targets should be at comparable levels between different consumer packaging materials. High achievement of one packaging material should not compensate for another material’s lower achievement.
• We welcome the proposal that waste exported outside Europe should count towards the target of the Member State where it has been collected on condition that recycling takes place in equivalent environmental conditions.
We welcome the proposed targets for paper and board by the Commission. The paper and board packaging industry in Europe has achieved high recycling rates. In 2014, the average paper and board packaging recycling rate was 81.1% (CEPI). The EUROSTAT figure for 2011 was 79.9%. However, there are also significant differences between Member States, with the recycling rate ranging from 59% to 98% (EUROSTAT). Calculation methods for recycling vary between countries, making it difficult to compare existing data from different countries.
2. Recycling rate calculation
• We support quality recycling.
• We support the harmonised method based on “input to final recycling process”.
• Calculation formulas should be adapted and clarified with regards to “preparation for re-use and recycling” of “products and components” for packaging
We believe the “input” to the final recycling process is the correct basis for calculating the recycling rate and will improve the quality of recycling.
Final recycling process
• Article 1(2f) of the proposal for amending the WFD with a definition of “final recycling process” should read as follows: “final recycling process” means the recycling process which begins when no further mechanical sorting operation is needed and when waste and waste considered to have ceased to be waste in accordance with Article 6 enter a production process and are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances”.
• Article 1(5a) (i) should be consistent with the new definition of final recycling process. Therefore Article 6 (1c) of the WFD should therefore be amended as follows: “the substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the final recycling process and meets the existing standards and legislation applicable to products.”
• The derogation article 11a paragraph 3(a) and (b) of the proposed amendments to the WFD and derogation article 6a paragraph 3 (a) and 3(b) of the proposed amendments to the PPWD should read as follows: “The weight of materials or substances that are not subject to a final recycling process and that are disposed or subject to energy recovery remains below the maximum threshold of impurities acceptable to operators carrying out a final recycling process in order to ensure quality recycling. These thresholds are outlined in Annex VII”. There should be a new annex VII on impurities limits per waste stream, in which the impurities limit for paper (non-paper components and other unwanted materials) should be set at 3% in line with the EN 643.
Packaging is different from the other waste streams, which the European Commission already acknowledges by having a dedicated directive for packaging and packaging waste. Packaging which is re-used in a closed loop is not considered as waste and only becomes waste when it leaves the loop. Mixing waste and non-waste (“products and components”) in one calculation formula will jeopardise the potential a harmonised method could have to deliver robust, comparable and accurate reporting. This, combined with an optional reporting on “products and components” will lead to increasing differences in the Member States’ reporting. It may also trigger cases where targets are met by clever calculations without an effective contribution to the circular economy. The resources needed from the European Commission to control the accurate implementation of the formula would be disproportionate to the potential benefits.
Calculation method and formula
• The formula in Annex IV of the PPWD should be clarified to avoid misinterpretations, under claims or over claims and allow for fair treatment of packaging, considering the intrinsic differences among materials.
• For packaging, the proposed Article 6a), paragraph 1c) should be deleted. Member States should not be optionally allowed to include in the calculation “products and components prepared for re-use”.
• For packaging, “R” should be removed from the formula in Annex IV.
• The denominator “P” should be clearly explained by defining “packaging waste generated”, as, for example, “total packaging placed on the market”.
3. Minimum requirements for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
• EPR systems should be transparent.
• The scope of EPR and roles and responsibilities of each actor involved in packaging waste management should be clearly defined.
• A minimum requirement for EPR systems to collect all (packaging) materials should be introduced.
• A reference to EPR systems needs to be made in PPWD (94/62/EC) to ensure the protection of the internal market, and in the WFD (2008/98/EC).
We welcome the Commission’s intention to make EPR systems transparent as well as the inclusion of three important elements in the Commission’s proposal for general requirements for EPR systems: Eco-modulation, optimised cost and secondary raw materials sales revenues. Recyclability is a key criterion in eco-modulation for EPR systems andensures the value from the sales of secondary raw material. As the additional cost for their collection can be covered by these revenues, the contribution of producers should be lower. Within every material category, criteria for eco-modulation should be carefully designed so they do not inhibit innovation, technical progress, the functioning of the internal market and specific requirements regarding the packed products.
The provisions on general requirements for EPR systems should describe the costs to be covered without using non-exhaustive lists.
• Article 1(8) 4. (a) first paragraph of the proposal for amending the WFD should read as follows: “Cover the following cost of waste management for the products it puts on the Union market:…”
• The packaging sector should be recognised as a stakeholder in the EPR process so that it can share its expertise in managing the different materials
4. Separate collection, Landfill and Incineration of waste
• Recyclable packaging waste should not go to landfill. We support the ban on landfilling separately collected waste.
• Separate collection of all packaging waste should be strengthened and clarified.
• Incineration of recyclables should be restricted.
The requirement for separate collection of recyclable packaging waste is a precondition to avoid landfilling. The proposal aims in the right direction by linking the provisions on landfill restrictions to the separate collection requirement in the WFD and by introducing a methodology to measure the recycling rate at the input to a final recycling process, and by defining this final recycling process.
Despite the existing capacity for reprocessing paper in Europe, up to 10 million tonnes of all paper, including packaging, are currently being landfilled or incinerated in Europe. This situation has to be addressed, otherwise ambitious recycling targets cannot be achieved.
Paper and board should be collected separately from other recyclables such as plastics, metal, glass – or any combination thereof - and residual waste. Separate collection of all packaging and packaging waste is crucial in order to promote a circular economy and guarantee a high quality of secondary raw materials. The WFD formulated a separate collection target in 2008, but this has been interpreted in different ways by Member States. Beverage cartons (consisting predominantly of board) should be collected in the most optimal way for further recycling, which may differ from country to country.
• Article 11(1) of the WFD should be amended by changing ”for the relevant recycling sectors” to “for the relevant final recycling processes”.
• Article 11(11) of the WFD should be amended to clarify that paper shall be collected separately from metal, plastic and glass.
5. Unlock the potential of Renewable, Bio-Based Materials
• EU circular economy policies and measures should promote and encourage the use of bio-based materials as an essential solution to achieve a real circular economy.
The increased use of packaging made from bio-based materials fosters the establishment of a truly circular economy by taking into account an efficient use of renewable resources (biomass), integrated production and efficient use of bio-based feedstock in integrated bio-refineries. A true circular economy needs to be built on renewable carbon.
This logic should be extended to the legislative proposals under the circular economy package, in particular for sectors where solutions are already available, e.g. packaging. Therefore, the signatories request the recognition and encouragement of the use of materials from renewable sources in the PPWD.
Furthermore, using renewable, bio-based materials decreases Europe’s dependence on the import of raw materials and supports green development within the EU, leading to green growth and jobs.
• Amend the PPWD with the explicit requirement for Member States to encourage the use of bio-based materials for the manufacturing of packaging, where appropriate.
• Introduce a clear definition of what is meant by ‘bio-based’ to ensure coherent interpretation and a level-playing field for producers. The signatories recommend using existing definitions of the CEN Technical Committee TC 411 on bio-based products which define ‘bio-based’ as “derived from biomass” and ‘biomass’ as “material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological formations and/or fossilised”.
6. Food waste
• We support the efforts of the Commission to reduce the generation of food waste.
• Cooperation among all stakeholders in the food supply chain and the Commission is needed.
Packaging prevents food loss and food waste in a sustainable way. UN studies support the fact that a substantial reduction of food losses can be achieved by providing and using the right packaging solution.
• The methodologies (paragraph 4) developed by the Commission should consider the positive role of packaging in the prevention of food waste.
• The packaging sector should be among the stakeholders consulted on the subject.
Currently, the following organisations participate in the PPCG:
CEPI, Confederation of European Paper Industries
CITPA, International Confederation of Paper & Board Converters
ACE, The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment
ECMA, European Carton Makers Association
EMBALPACK, European Association of Makers of Packaging Papers
EMFA, European Moulded Fibre Association
CEPI EUROKRAFT, European Producers of Sack Kraft Paper and Kraft Paper
CEPI CONTAINERBOARD, European Producers of corrugated case materials
EUROSAC, European Federation of Multiwall Paper Sack Manufacturers
FEFCO, European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers
PRO CARTON, European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers
The position paper can be downloaded here.
The Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a field trip for Industry and Environment Council working group members to illustrate the Circular Economy, one of the Presidency’s top priorities. The Presidency chose the state-of the-art paper mill in Roermond, The Netherlands. The mill is operated by Smurfit Kappa and its raw material is 100% paper for recycling, making it the perfect example of circularity. The visit was co-organised with the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Royal Dutch papermaking association VNP.
“We are very happy to be given the opportunity to demonstrate that paper is at the heart of the Circular Economy”, said CEPI Acting Director General Jori Ringman. “The paper industry champions many aspects of circularity from reusing water to industrial symbiosis, from including the whole value chain in advancing circularity to working towards clean and safe cycles. Whilst the recycling starts already at homes and offices and is a chain of many important actors, it is vital that EU legislation acknowledges the final recycling where the material is physically transformed to start a new cycle; this is what the participants saw today in practice”, he added.
Europe is a world champion when it comes to paper recycling, achieving a 72% recycling rate in 2014.
The Roermond mill is a great example of Circular Economy. It processes 600 000 tonnes or one million bales of waste paper into new paper rolls every year, which is more than 25% of the annual collected amount of paper for recycling. “The companies in our sector produce products in a very high tech and sustainable way, products that play a very important role in everyday life. The participants of the field trip could closely experience that in Roermond,” said Gerrit Jan Koopman, Director of Royal VNP.
For more information, please contact:
Jori Ringman, CEPI Acting Director General at firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +32 478 25 50 70
Rutger van Dijk, VNP Communication and PR at email@example.com, mobile +31 6 45 79 02 60
Note to the Editor
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 920 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production. For further information see http://www.cepi.org/
Royal VNP – Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Papier- en Kartonfabrieken
The Dutch paper and board association represents the interests of the Dutch paper and board industry with an active lobbying focused on solutions, on current policies, legislation and sustainability. They provide services to their members and initiate policy-supporting studies. In this way they help to connect the companies’ needs and developments in society (customers, employees, government, NGOs and society in general). For further information see www.vnp.nl.
A World Economic Forum publication in collaboration with industry
The European paper industry was invited to collaborate with the World Economic Forum (the Forum), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment on Circular Economy to produce a white paper with guidelines on design and management for circularity. The new publication provides essential guidance to all actors in the supply chain through simple ecodesign rules for paper products, without limiting innovation and the introduction of new techniques. This is a product of the three pilots under Project MainStream, launched during the 2014 summit in Davos.
“We trust helping circular thinking in all steps of the complex value chain will help reach higher in what is already a high recycling performance”, said CEPI Sustainability Director Jori Ringman, one of the draftsmen of the guidance, in a panel discussion on the feasibility of higher recycling rates at the Packaging and Sustainability event in Brussels on Wednesday. “In circular economy, your downstream is your upstream and what you pass on into the loop will have an impact on your own business.”
Although highly recyclable, paper is usually converted by industries that add chemicals to it through printing inks and other auxiliary materials. This can lead to problems in subsequent circular chains, as these chemicals cannot easily be removed from the paper before re-entering the mill. Furthermore, the already highly-optimised recycling process cannot follow the speed of the evolution of inks and toners.
The publication summarises the key choices to be made by direct (printers, papermakers, collectors) and indirect (such as local authorities, ink producers, equipment manufacturers) stakeholders. More specifically, it identifies the choices that can influence businesses ordering a fibre-based product - printed paper, packaging or other.
“Businesses will have many priorities topping their agendas, such as meeting customer requirements, creating functionalities that meet both the purpose and profitability, and respecting environmental considerations”, says Ringman. “This document is meant to make decision-making in companies easier when balancing these priorities.”
For more information, please contact Jori Ringman at firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +32 478 25 50 70.
Note to the Editor
Project MainStream is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, seeking to remove bottlenecks in the large-scale transitioning to the circular economy.
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 920 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production.
Open letter to Jean-Claude Juncker on the withdrawal and renewed discussion of the circular economy package
CEPI together with other representatives from industry, NGOs, municipalities and public service providers addressed an open letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. In this letter, they underlined the importance of publishing a new Circular Economy proposal within a short timeframe. According to the co-signatories, this would enable our European economy to rebound through the creation of a circular economy.