Today, Tuesday 14 March, the European Parliament voted in Plenary in favour of the Circular Economy Package. MEPs endorsed crucial concepts such as a single calculation method to measure real recycling rates. However, the legislation did not go far enough on the subject of treatment of scrap exports.
Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, stated:
Today’s vote in Plenary confirmed the essential role that measuring real recycling rates plays in achieving a circular economy in Europe. Already approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, the vote in favour of a single calculation method at input to the final recycling process will enable a real comparison of recycling rates between Member States.
As the trialogues with Member States begin, we hope that all institutions recognise the importance of adopting a harmonised approach for measuring recycling rates. It would allow the EU to measure what is actually recycled, rather than simply collected or sorted. Seeing as the ultimate objective of the circular economy is to close the loop, it is first essential to have an appropriate calculation and reporting method that provides accurate and clear insight into the actual situation across the EU.
However, we are disappointed that the European Parliament was not more ambitious regarding scrap exports and its treatment outside of Europe. Recycling more does not mean recycling at any cost. When valuable resources – such as aluminium scrap – are exported outside of the EU, it is imperative that it is recycled according to equivalent environmental, health and safety standards as those applied by recyclers in Europe.
That is why we call on the institutions to empower the European Commission to develop an adequate framework on how equivalent conditions would be determined and implemented. The trialogue negotiations must result in concrete measures that ensure fair conditions for exported waste for the Circular Economy Package to be a true success.