Monday, December 18, 2017

The Resource Association has welcomed the announcement that agreement has been reached between the European Council and Parliament on the headline proposals for revision of various waste and packaging legislation (the Circular Economy Package) at a meeting that concluded in the early hours of Monday 18th December.

Chief Executive Ray Georgeson commented:

“Firstly, we congratulate the Estonian Presidency on their successful conclusion to the negotiations on waste legislation and the Circular Economy Package. We know this has been a difficult negotiation on many levels, with significant differences between the ambitions and desires of the European Parliament and those of various Member States as articulated by the Council. We also wish to record our appreciation for the efforts and advocacy of greater ambition for the circular economy of Simona Bonafe MEP and the Parliament’s Environment Committee who clearly understand the need for urgency and ambition in delivering a circular economy in Europe.

“In reaching a compromise agreement, the inevitable outcome has been a mixed bag of decisions. 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.

“Given that confusion still reigns over how best to calculate recycling anyway, it was probably the best we could hope for at this stage. The agreement made on calculation methodology, whilst a step in the right direction in at least narrowing down to one methodology type based on point of final sorting, is unsatisfactory, as it relies on the uncertain process of agreeing ‘average loss rates’ for materials in sorting and processing and potentially leaves too much wriggle room for Member States to continue to interpret recycling rates in their own way. We are pleased that the proposed review clause on the derogation related to calculation of ‘average loss rates’ that we put forward with colleagues from European materials associations was debated but disappointed that it was not agreed.  We will continue to urge the 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.  There is a danger that the proposed flexible target setting for Member States will diminish the potential to realise better recycling of key materials.”

The Association noted there were headline developments related to separate collection of recyclables and derogation processes, signalling that a further statement on details would be made when the full detail was available from the Commission in due course.

Resource Association Chairman Robbie Warden concluded:

“With recycling and especially plastics under the media and policy spotlight at the moment, I am pleased that compromise agreement has been reached in Europe without further delays in the process. We need now to use this as a platform for progress, look forward to further proposals to be made in the forthcoming Plastics Strategy for Europe and 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.”