Brussels, 25 February 2021
Today, FEAD, the European Waste Management Association,represented by its President, Mr. Peter Kurth, participated in the European Parliament ENVI and PETICommittees‘ Joint Public Hearing entitled “Plastics and waste management in the circulareconomy”.
Waste management activities are integral to circular industrial chains and have a crucial role to playto ensure the circularity of our economies. The European private waste management sector,represented by FEAD, has a clear understanding of the environmental, health, and economic impactsof plastics and microplastics. Plastic waste will remain a reality despite proposed measures to limitthe relentless increase of plastic production and consumption. FEAD strongly advocates to have aregulatory framework at EU level that would result in a sound management of plastic waste. Inparticular, we emphasise the following:
– The current use of excessive virgin plastic needs to be replaced by a circular model, wherebyplastics already introduced into the economy are reused through recycling and recovery;
– Mandatory recycled content in priority sectors (packaging, automotive, construction products),and green public procurement rules can ensure a strong and long-lasting demand and boost themarket for plastic recyclates. The rules on Eco-design play a key role in the recyclability of plasticproducts, because they stipulate the avoidance or limitation of additives and hazardoussubstances from the very start of the product value chain;
– Closing the plastic loop within the EU is dependent on safe and efficient intra-EU wasteshipment rules and on greater law enforcement efforts preventing illegal exports and wastecrime;
– To stop the leakage of plastic waste and consequently of microplastics we need to have a bettercollection and separation system and improve recycling rates. Biodegradable and bio-basedplastics are not necessarily a solution, depending upon their impact on the environment, as mostplastics do not degrade, but cause litter and end up in smaller pieces.
Peter Kurth, FEAD’s President states: “A recent study for the European Parliament showed that €630 million is spent every year across Europe to clean plastic waste from coasts and beaches whilethe failure to recycle costs the European economy € 105 billion. This is evidence that tells us thatcollecting, recycling, recovering is the only solution moving forward. Over the next 10 years, ourindustry is ready to invest € 10 billion in plastic collection and recycling facilities, provided there isenough economic viability in the uptake of plastic recyclates. Pull measures, such as mandatoryrecycled contents and green public procurement, are needed to create a true shock on demand forrecyclates. Large scale and appropriate funding for selective collection and sorting is vital. And finally,safe exports are also crucial to ship plastic waste to places where they will be further treated andreprocessed.”