Brussels, 25 January 2017 – The Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament (EP) voted yesterday to finalise its report on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive. The result is a step in the right direction according to the European Steel Association (EUROFER) which highlighted positive elements, though there are areas for improvement.
“We thank the Environment Committee for the work that they have achieved thus far”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER. “There are ambitious and practical improvements in the compromise amendments over earlier versions from the committee. The EU must now take concrete steps to build a functioning Circular Economy in Europe.”
The report establishes greater harmonisation of the principles used to recognise by-products, though member states can establish national criteria for this on a case-by-case basis where the EU is not able to establish criteria. The Commission would be empowered to initiate harmonisation actions across the member states in order to create a functioning market for the use of by-products as manufactured raw materials, replacing virgin raw materials.
“The issue of ‘real’ recycling is still not fully settled, though there has been progress”, said Mr Eggert. “MEPs have established a unique methodology and a calculation point where waste materials enter the final recycling process. They have also requested that member states establish traceability along the recycling value chain.”
Mr Eggert continued, “However, the current wording does not necessarily guarantee ‘real’ recycling. Recycling should be calculated at the stage where the sorted waste is actually processed into new products, rather than as specified in the ENVI text where losses may still occur after final sorting but before reprocessing.”
“Overall, the compromise amendments take steps towards building a Circular Economy. We wish the committee had been bolder in securing a more practical definition for ‘real’ recycling, but the progress made so far is already welcome”, concluded Mr Eggert.
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Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35 (email@example.com)
Joint Position Paper on Waste
The joint position paper is available: here
About steel and the Circular Economy
Steel is a 100% recyclable, ‘permanent’ material, which loses none of its unique properties when properly processed. The European steel industry works hard to ensure that the steel it produces can be reused, recovered, and recycled. It also ensures that steel production’s by-products, such as slags and process, gases are put to the best possible uses.
This EUROFER brochure provides recommendations to policy makers dealing with issues arising in the circular economy for the steel industry. It shows that steel can help mitigate CO2 emissions and help reduce product lifecycle emissions. Steel’s characteristic as a ‘permanent’ material means it can be easily reused and subsequently recycled in a constant loop.
To this end, the brochure proposes that the recycling definition in the EU’s waste legislation be adapted to properly meet the aspirations of the circular economy. Finally, it demonstrates the large degree to which steel production retains as much of the material created during steel production and is able to make use of its by-products.
The Steel and the Circular Economy brochure is available at: www.eurofer.eu
About the European steel industry
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 330,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 24 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.
Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.
 MEPs gave a firm recommendation on the calculation methodology for recycling rates within the waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC). EUROFER supports the proposed calculation methodology as being a decisive step forward for the Circular Economy. Nevertheless, the phrase, “…enter a production process”, has been deleted from the final recycling process definition as given in Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2 – point f of the original Commission proposal, modifying Article 3 – point 17a of Directive 2008/98/EC). This deletion creates legal uncertainty as the Commission wording would have provided for a calculation at the point at which materials ‘entered’ a final process.