Recycled products need demand boost, industry says

25th August 2015


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IEMA

Demand for recycled products needs to be boosted at a European level in order to create a circular economy, according to the waste industry.

In its response to the European commission's consultation on a circular economy, waste trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said that the commission should place more emphasis on the demand side for recycling by requiring certain products to have minimum recycled content.

It should also introduce minimum public procurement requirements at EU level to boost purchases of recycled products and materials, and include information about recycled content and recyclability on product labels. VAT should be lowered or removed from second hand goods and products with recycled content, it said.

The ESA also wants the commission to improve statistics on raw and secondary material flows by clarifying and harmonising definitions and calculation methodologies. A more consistent approach to statistics would help member states compare performance and learn from best practice, it said.

At the same time, existing legislation on waste and resource management needs to be fully implemented and enforced by all member states. This includes tackling waste crime, which the ESA claims undermines the operations of compliant businesses and has a significant impact on the environment and local communities.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has launched a consultation on the circular economy. It is proposing a Scottish centre of expertise on circular design, actions on education, packaging design and a support service to help companies adopt circular economy business models.

Other plans include:

  • a comprehensive repair-finding service or network to make it easy to find where items can be repaired;

  • expanding repair skills in communities;

  • enabling more companies to offer repair services for the products they make or sell;

  • clarifying the regulation of reuse activities;

  • improving the capture of items for reuse;

  • exploring reuse opportunities in industrial sectors, notably in oil and gas; and

  • improving the return of products to remanufacturers and the potential for remanufactured products to feature more in public procurement.

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