A number of European recycling organisations have named a range of obstacles that are preventing them from optimising recovery of the material.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries, European Man-made Fibres Association, Eurometaux, European Plastics Recyclers and European Plastics Converters Association have signed a paper making proposals that they believe would remove these barriers.
The obstacles to producing a higher share of paper, plastic, man-made fibre, non-ferrous metals products from secondary raw materials include:
- Insufficient and contradictory policy support for closing the loops
- Subsidies for the use of recyclable and renewable material for energy recovery
- Insufficient recyclability requirements for converted products
- Sub-optimal end-of-life collection schemes
- Shortage of secondary raw material due to exports to non-European countries partly due to illegal shipments of waste
- Lack of level playing field worldwide
- Technological hurdles to recycle increasingly complex products
- Landfilling of recyclable waste
- Inconsistencies in legislation in the field of waste, products and materials.
It says that the export of secondary raw materials outside of the EU is a threat to the entire European recycling industry and means that the material is lost for potential use in Europe or for its embedded energy.
In order to combat these barriers, the paper calls for the following policies to be implemented:
- For a sound implementation and enforcement of existing legislation
- For better enforcement of the Waste Shipment Regulation with a view to curbing illegal shipments of waste. The work of Impel and customs authorities should be supported.
- Call for separate collection at source of paper, metal, plastics and glass by 2015 for all applications
- The European Commission should propose a ban on landfilling of recyclable waste.