FEAD calls for global circular trade of recyclable materials, and not more restrictions on movement

Inspection by Thai Customs officials of contaminated mixed paper

European waste management umbrella trade association FEAD has called for circular reverse supply chains rather than restrictions on movement of recyclable materials.

It has backed the proposals in the recently published OECD Trade and Environment Working Paper on reverse supply chains for a resource efficient and circular economy.


FEAD has said that circular economy business models rely on reverse supply chains and reverse logistics to close material loops, such as recycling waste and scrap into secondary raw materials.

It added that these activities extend beyond borders and require the transboundary movement of end-of-lie products to enable economies of scale.

But it warned that recent developments in the trade of recyclable materials have mainly focused on increasing transboundary controls, such as the import bans for certain categories of waste and scrap introduced in China and plastics amendments to the Basel Convention.

FEAD president Peter Kurth said: “We need to overcome trade restrictions caused by heavy procedural requirements and lack of harmonisation in cross-border waste shipments, and strengthen trade facilitation mechanisms to ensure that valuable resources can re-enter the production processes where they are needed, closing the loop of the circular economy.”

A document has been produced by FEAD providing more detail on its viewpoint. It can be accessed here.