In addition to a global mind set, achieving a real Circular Economy requires a clear and ambitious EU legal framework.
European Aluminium supports the Commission’s consistent recycling definitions and its proposal to move the measurement of recycling to after the sorting phase rather than at the point of collection. This is essential to ensure that Member States report real recycling results.
The proposal to progressively phase out the landfilling of recyclable waste is an important step, even though the Commission fell short of completely banning landfills, still accepting a maximum of 10%.
“It is disappointing that recyclable waste still ends up in landfills in Europe. Recyclable materials such as aluminium must stay in the loop. Landfilling clearly belongs to the linear economy. It should be phased out and replaced with efficient collection and sorting systems as soon as possible.” Götz added.
The Commission could have been more ambitious for the target on Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW), for which the present 70% encompasses all material recovery operations, including backfilling. With less than 10% of all CDW being recycled today (all materials), specific re-use and recycling target for this waste stream would boost our overall progress towards a Circular Economy.
Europe is currently the world leader in aluminium recycling, with over 90% of aluminium recycled in the construction and automotive sectors and 60% in packaging. Aluminium can be recycled again and again without any loss of quality and is already a key contributor to the Circular Economy. European remelting and refining companies have the capacity to recycle even more aluminium scrap in the EU, if collection processes were improved and unnecessary exports reduced.
“We want Europe to stay the world leader in aluminium recycling. The aluminium industry can strengthen Europe’s circular economy and has the capacity to recycle even more. However, waste markets are global and we are facing unfair competition for aluminium scrap. The EU has a responsibility to ensure that when aluminium scrap is exported to facilities outside Europe, these facilities apply equivalent health, safety and environmental standards as in Europe.” Götz concluded.