The Bureau of International Recycling, a global federation of recycling industries, welcomed the EU’s support for recyclers as laid out in their new Circular Economy Action Plan. The action plan will benefit the European member companies of BIR, which are collecting, sorting and processing wastes in order to produce secondary raw materials. It will also benefit companies providing services to recyclers as well as recycling machinery and equipment manufacturers.
The action plan supports reuse above recycling. For generations, certain BIR members have collected goods for reuse, principally clothing, accessories and footwear. Driving up the quality, durability and performance of goods will naturally also support reuse, repair and refurbishment. Reuse and recycling will co-exist, after all end-of-life goods will be collected into recycling enterprises. As the action plan will deliver clean material loops, increase recycling capacity and get secondary raw materials to market, BIR members should be encouraged of a healthy future up to and beyond 2050 on a climate-neutral continent.
The possibility of financial support to certain Member States through EU funds to build up high quality, high volume recycling value chains in the EU is very welcome, as will be the enforcement tools to drive reforms.
The action plan sets out a number of ways to ensure that substances of concern from products do not affect the secondary raw material, which should be welcomed by European recyclers. However, the action plan does not foresee relieving recyclers of the economic burden of finding and decontaminating waste.
Recyclers also welcome that the European Commission will assess the need to develop, union-wide, criteria for end-of-waste and by-products. BIR recognises that a worldwide circular economy will be at the core of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at a global level.