On the occasion of the closing of the public consultation on the review of the EU Waste management targets, the European Aluminium Association (EAA) urges the Commission to improve the EU waste rules and increase the availability of scrap for the European recycling industry.
The aluminium sector is already the European recycling champion with end-of-life recycling rates above 90% in transport and construction and close to 70% for beverage cans. Aluminium recycling is critical to sustainable development as it saves material resources as well as energy, reduces waste, and helps aluminium producers to continue to supply metal within Europe at a time when primary production is declining.
Gerd Götz, Director General EAA: “The aluminium industry contributes since its existence to a resource efficient society. Today, over 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still in use. We see recycling as a win-win solution: it helps the environment and helps the European industry to continue producing and providing valuable and innovative end-use products. However, a change in legislation is needed to help to further unlock the recycling potential of our industry and respond to growing scrap leakage.”
The aluminium industry therefore strongly welcomes the EU’s intention to review the EU waste legislation and has 6 key messages for European decision-makers:
- More ambitious recycling targets, guaranteeing a level playing field between materials and products, supported by a gradual phasing out of landfill of end-use recyclable goods;
- Stimulate better collection and sorting for recycling, guaranteeing a higher quality of the sorted fractions ready for recycling back into new valuable end-use products. Investments in a better uptake of existing separation technologies and in the development of new innovative solutions should be encouraged through fiscal incentives and a more optimal use of EU Funds.. Design for dismantling and recycling of end-use products should be further investigated, to avoid unnecessary costs at the ‘end of the pipeline’ in separating the various materials;
- Better and more transparent reporting to ensure that the EU is correctly informed about the most relevant data, such as actual recycling (instead of collection for recycling);
- Better definitions of recycling making a clear distinction between endless material recycling in a closed material loop and recycling which ultimately results into the degradation of the collected materials;
- Better monitoring of scrap exports to ensure that enough scrap remains in Europe to fulfil an ever-growing demand and to prevent poor recycling practices in other countries. In this respect it might be helpful to develop a global certification system for scrap remelting facilities, operating under similar safety, health and environmental conditions as in Europe;
- The application of the right LCA methodologies which fully recognizes the end-of-life recycling credentials of metal products.