EP ENVI vote on the revision of Annexes IV and V of the POPs Regulation
Brussels, 4th April 2022 – The European Parliament ENVI Committee voted on 31 March on a series of amendments and their draft report regarding Annexes IV and V of the new Regulation on POPs, which determine how waste containing POPs is treated. The aim of this revision is to update for certain substances and groups of substances, the concentration limits in waste.
In particular, the reduction of concentration limits for PBDE and HBCDD is of concern for the waste management sector.
The challenge is finding the best policy and time frame option, while ensuring a consistent regulatory framework for reducing POP substances from production to end-of-life, while at the same time increasing circularity/recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Strengthening the zero-pollution approach, whereby recycling should happen after separation/sorting of POPs/ non-POPs waste, requires full traceability, separation, checks, and decontamination. Enough time for a transition period is needed to make it a reality, notably – but not only – in Central and Eastern Europe. The conditions proposed by FEAD are in line with one of the options (option n°2) that was examined by the European Commission.
FEAD emphasises the importance for a 5-year transition period to apply the new concentration limit of 500 mg/kg. It would allow sufficient time to deploy investments needed for new separation techniques to achieve such a threshold. This transition period is also needed to collect data on the presence of these substances in the waste flows and develop measurement methods and standards.
The case of PBDE and HBCDD (flame retardants) are of particular importance for the treatment of WEEE because their use is already in decline, reflecting their decrease in new EEE products.
A transition period would help the sector to: reach new EU thresholds, sustainably treat WEEE in environmentally safe installations, avoid installations becoming stranded assets, and overspending that would increase the price of recyclates. The new thresholds of 100 mg/kg proposed by the ENVI Committee would stop any recycling in related waste flows without justification. Therefore, FEAD supports the Council’s mandate for negotiating with European Parliament based on the concentration limit of 500 mg/kg, as proposed by European Commission, to be decreased where appropriate 7 years after the entry into force of the revised Regulation. And additionally asks for a transition period as mentioned above.