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In a bid to combat marine litter, Norway has submitted a proposal to restrict exports of plastic waste, by amending the Basel Convention. The proposal aims at submitting exports of ‘green listed’ plastic waste for recovery and in most cases also for recycling to a notification procedure.

FEAD, as representatives of the private Waste Management Industry, would like to warn against this proposal which would do much more harm than good as it would thwart the development of an EU market for plastic recycling.

The notification procedure would seriously hinder the development of an EU market for plastic recycling. It would raise the administrative burden and the costs of shipping plastic waste to EU countries where they are further prepared, or it would make shipping simply impossible. The proposal is unclear, with classifications subject to confusion and varying interpretations. This will result in delays, costs, legal cases. FEAD is opposed to a revision making major plastic flows destined for recycling or recovery operations no longer benefit from the green procedure.

In view of Norway’s proposal, FEAD has reacted with a position paper which calls for:   

  • A robust impact assessment since the Norwegian proposal could negatively impact plastic recycling and recovery;
  • Complementing measures to stimulate European demand for recycled materials and investment in recycling capacities (e.g. Packaging and WEEE plastics);
  • Sufficient lead in time to allow new recycling infrastructure to be built;
  • A clear commitment by the EU to limit delays for notified shipments;
  • Consideration to be given to intra EU trade.

 Please see our press release and our position paper for further information.

The Austrian Presidency, as well as several Member States, such as Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and the UK, already expressed their support for the European Parliament’s proposal. In view of the upcoming COREPER I (14 December), FEAD would like to urge the other Member States, as well as the Commission, to be open to mandatory recycled content.

A mandatory recycled content target will send, through the waste and material value chain, a strong signal to boost the offer of, and the demand for recycled plastics, as well as provide operators with the necessary certainty they need to make significant investments in plastics recycling from packaging products. It would also send a strong signal to incentivise the production of recyclable bottles, rather than single-use ones.

The private waste management sector is committed to delivering the quantity and the quality needed by the producers.

Read more about our press release here.

FEAD co-signed with four other organsiations a Joint Statement on the European Commission’s legislative proposal on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and on the Cohesion Fund 2021-2027.

The undersigning associations support an integrated waste management approach with an appropriate and sustainable interaction of source separation, reuse and recycling, energy recovery and environmentally sound disposal of waste that cannot be recovered. It is by applying this approach that the most virtuous countries (in terms of recycling) have achieved their results.
Cohesion funds are important instruments to help Member States that still have low recycling rates and depend heavily on landfills, to create a sustainable waste management system using adequate investment to set up an effective separation collection scheme paired with the appropriate infrastructure needed to treat each stream. This includes sorting, preparation for reuse, recycling, biowaste treatment and residual waste treatment infrastructure in line with the Waste Hierarchy.

Read more about our joint position here.

Despite the desirable goal of the proposal, the waste management companies are very concerned of its implications on waste management in the EU. The import ban on different types of solid waste put in place by China last year has already a significantly impact, taking away the world’s largest market for scrap plastics but also opening up an opportunity to recycle more of our waste in the EU, if we adopt the right supporting measures that markets need for a real take off of the uptake of recycled plastics. Norway’s proposal risks unfortunately to hinder the development of an EU market for plastic waste, by raising the administrative burden and the costs of shipping plastic waste, or by making them simply impossible. For avoiding this, the new entries need to be clear to avoid confusion and varying interpretations. FEAD is also opposed to a system that restricts the use of the B3010 entry to plastic recycling under the green procedure, excluding plastic waste for recovery operations.

Read more about our position here.

Following the first trilogue on Single Use Plastics Directive, FEAD, the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services co-signed with 26 industry organisations and environmental NGOs, a joint statement to urge the Council to support the binding target of at least 35% recycled plastic in beverage bottles by 2025.

This target voted by the European Parliament on 24 October is instrumental in the achievement of the objectives of the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive and in igniting the much supported transition towards a more circular economy. It would be a historical step, correcting a much overdue market failure to not value recycled material more while unlocking much needed investment in collection and recycling.

Setting a mandatory recycled plastic target for beverage bottles, where food safety considerations are fully complied with, will immediately have positive knock-on effects on improving and increasing the collection rate of these SUP and is hence vital in achieving the 90% collection target set by the Proposal.

Read our Joint Statement to find out more here.