Circular Economy

Our industry’s opinion on the new Circular Economy package

The European Commission’s new Circular Economy Package is a landmark in creating a more resource-efficient economy. We believe that this package provides the basis for accelerating the transition from a linear to a true circular economy. It also allows scaling it up beyond Europe.

It paves the way for a stronger engagement of the aluminium industry to enhance recycling across its value chain, from production to the end of life product’s products.

With high end of life recycling rates, aluminium is a key contributor to a Circular Economy. Recycling aluminium uses only 5% of the energy needed for the primary production.

The level of ambition of the new package will be evaluated in the light of concrete deliveries and effective implementation.

What we hope the final package will contain

  • Improved definitions of recycling, enhancing real recycling.
  • Harmonised methods for calculating and reporting recycling using an input-based measurement.
  • All recovery options taken into account for split recycling targets for aluminium packaging, such as bottom ashes treatment.
  • Separate reuse and recycling targets for construction and demolition waste that clearly differentiates between recycling and backfilling, specifically excluding the latter.
  • Landfilling of post-consumer recyclable waste phased out to maximise aluminium available for collection.
  • Increased investment and ongoing innovation to improve collection efficiency, sorting and treatment technologies and melting processes.
  • Export of aluminium scrap from Europe kept to a minimum.

Why permanent materials such as aluminium are perfectly suitable to a circular economy

While the Circular Economy package proposed by the European Commission is a clear step towards a true resource efficient and circular economy, we believe it can be further stimulated by introducing an extra focus on materials. It is essential to make a clear distinction between recycling which leads to the gradual degradation of the material, and recycling which keeps the material in the loop without losing its intrinsic material characteristics. Aluminium can claim to be a permanent material, one for which the inherent properties do not change during use and following repeated recycling into new products.
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