The waste guidance issued by the European Commission poses a “serious risk to advancing a recycling society in Europe” paper industry body CEPI has warned.
It is expected that the European Union regulatory committee will apply end-of-waste measures to paper, copper and glass on 9 July and CEPI is concerned by guidance issued in relation to this.
In the guidance document, the European Commissions says that “the moment when a material or substance reaches end-of-waste is simultaneous with the completion of the recovery and recycling processes”.
CEPI argues that for paper, the guidance document should not describe compliance with end-of-waste criteria as being equivalent to recycling.
In a statement, it said: “CEPI questions the fact that the Commission is putting efforts into something that is likely to cause unintended problems to all stakeholders of paper recycling, and probably in all industry sectors.
“CEPI points at problems with previous end-of-waste measures (for steel) adopted by the Commission that have simply been rejected by the market and therefore not been implemented in practice. Thus, serious consequences did not emerge yet, but are bound to, when further end-of-waste measures will be adopted.
“For waste management companies and waste traders, the scenario will be frightening. With the new interpretation, they would become ‘recyclers’ without receiving any significant benefit. In return, however, they would be legally responsible for the output material as ‘producers’. This includes liability issues in the quality of waste material and its contamination. The full implications of that change in interpretation are not clear. Requiring such responsibility from waste management companies might just add to the growing list of badly implemented environmental EU measures and would not contribute to smart, green and inclusive growth in Europe.”
The statement added that considering end-of-waste equal to recycling will also effectively break the information flow for public authorities making it more difficult to police illegal shipments of material.
It also warned that the Commissions approach will “increase the risk of receiving low quality recyclates from collectors” and that this is contrary to the original aims of setting up end-of-waste criteria.