Circular economy is a “golden opportunity” for recycling, says Resource Association in its consultation response


The Resource Association has said the proposals from the European Union for the circular economy are a “golden opportunity” for high quality recycling.

In its response to the consultation on the European Commission programme, the Resource Association also said this was an opportunity to “reboot” recycling policy.


Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson (pictured) said: “We urge the European Commission to be true to its stated ambition for the circular economy and signal a clear timetable in its action plan that will lead to underpinning legislative proposals where they are needed.

“In the more immediate short term, we have taken the opportunity in our Position Paper (see below) and formal response to encourage the Commission to be bold in its review of waste legislation. Quality recycling needs to be at the heart of this, and the review provides a golden opportunity to do just that and provide recycling policy and practice with the reboot that it badly needs.

“The range of measures needed to give our industry a significant lift and send clear signals to the marketplace, investors and consumers alike may be ambitious, but not impossible. We therefore repeat our calls for:

  • Mandatory source separation of biowaste and more emphasis on setting up collection systems for paper, plastics, metals and glass that focus on reducing contamination and improving quality of secondary raw materials
  • Harmonised methodology for calculating recycling based on the point of ‘final recycling’ at a reprocessor – and to combine this with a root and branch review of targets that could use other metrics (such as carbon and possibly residual waste per capita) rather than weight-based percentages
  • Better enforcement of Waste Shipment Regulations to avoid substandard treatment of materials and properly combat waste crime
  • Guidance on acceptable levels of contamination at an EU level to ensure a level playing field for reputable recyclers and exporters and again focus on tackling waste crime
  • Clear long term ambition on recycling targets with achievable lead times for all Members States to support investor confidence
  • A phased and clear approach to the banning of recyclables to landfill and the longer-term to incineration to avoid the undermining of higher reuse and recycling targets
  • Renewed emphasis on ‘demand pull’ measures to stimulate eco-design, demand for secondary raw materials and investments in reuse and recycling infrastructure.”