Implementing separate waste streams is key to ensuring recycled materials can compete with virgin, according to a top European Commission official.
European Commission DG Environment director general Karl Falkenberg made the comments, that separate collections allow for material to be produced that can compete with virgin material, at an event organised by umbrella trade body European Recycling Industries Council (EuRIC).
He added: “We must move away from the notion of waste and understand that it is a secondary material that can be used as prime materials.
“The job and growth agenda starts by taking secondary materials out of landfills.”
While European Commission DG Internal Market & Industry Entreprenesurship and SMEs (GROW) director “Sustainable growth and EU 2020” Carlo Pettinelli said that the European Commission has withdrawn the Circular Economy Package because a wider framework was needed, which looks at the issues before waste is produced.
He added: “The new proposal will examine various incentives and market based instruments to promote the transition [to a circular economy] and boost investment.
“Waste should not be thought of as just waste, but a forgotten value that needs to be employed.”
EuRIC is an umbrella organisation representing the European paper and metals industry and was formed by the European Recovered Paper Association, European Ferrous Recovery & Recycling Federation and European Metal Trade and Recycling Association.
UK involvement in EuRIC comes from The Recycling Association and the British Metals Recycling Association.
The conference was held recently in Brussels.