Brussels, 19 December 2017 – After over two years of discussion, the European institutions have agreed, in principle, on a reform of EU waste rules. The package agreed amends several pieces of legislation, some of direct importance for the steel industry.
Creating a truly circular economy in Europe means having an efficient, accurate and coherent way of seeing how much material is put back into the value chain and recycled. Measuring recycling at the waste collection stage, which is how it has been done until now, generates significant losses later on in the recycling value chain. This means there has been a need for targets for ‘real’ recycling that correctly measure how much material is really recovered from waste and actually reprocessed.
“The agreement, yesterday, by the EU institutions has tried to consolidate this transition from collection point measurement to the assessment of real recycling”, said Axel Eggert, director general of the European Steel Association (EUROFER).
Steel is one of the most recyclable materials in widespread use. A ‘permanent’ material, it can be recovered and recycled infinitely without suffering the loss of its intrinsic qualities. Steel recycling is essential to the creation of a European circular economy; the establishment of this circular economy requires harmonised and coherent waste legislation.
“The agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council is a step forward because it proposes a methodology measuring recycling rates when waste materials are reprocessed into new products – we cannot accept that recyclable material is lost on the way to final recycling in steel production facilities”, stated Mr Eggert.
Mr Eggert continued, “However, the proposal only goes part of the way towards accurate, harmonised measurement of real recycling because a derogation allows member states to declare material as ‘recycled’ even after an early waste sorting stage. This will give vastly different results than measuring recycling at the stage of reprocessing into new products”.
“This outcome means that, despite the welcome ambition shown by the member states, the legislation will remain incomplete and will allow for disparate recycling rates between the member states. The role of the Commission will be even more important during the implementation phase in ensuring greater harmonisation and reducing data gaps, tasks which are in the interest of all the member states”, concluded Mr Eggert.
Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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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.
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 160 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 22 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.