EU must realise circular economy's full potential

Written by Alexis Van Maercke on 5 April 2017 in Thought Leader
Thought Leader

The EU must realise the circular economy package's full potential, argues Alexis Van Maercke.

Alexis Van Maercke | Photo credit: APEAL


As the circular economy package (CEP) moves forward, real progress is underway to help Europe make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy. But much work remains and it is imperative that the CEP reflects the positive contribution that permanent materials such as steel will make, and that the package is properly supported by a robust legal framework.

For 30 years APEAL has promoted the material qualities and sustainability benefits of steel for packaging. Now, we are closer than ever before to achieving a circular economy that reduces waste, saves resources and closes the material loop. 

Indeed, the European Commission has demonstrated commendable foresight in proposing such an ambitious package. Its swift implementation will undoubtedly be a key driver for change, bringing a harmonised EU approach to recycling, greater legal certainty and a more viable internal market for waste.


RELATED CONTENT


The CEP represents a significant step towards achieving higher recycling rates. It will also create new jobs and generate savings for businesses that will benefit from greater resource security. As the model material for a circular economy - with 76 per cent recycled in 2014 - steel packaging is ideally positioned to reach a higher recycling rate by 2025.

We have long advocated ambitious yet achievable recycling rates for all materials, on the understanding that we continue to measure the 'real recycling' rate. We support the Parliament's approach to place the measurement point of recycling at the input to the final recycling process. 

This point corresponds to the point of 'real recycling'. MEPs now have a strong mandate in the upcoming trilogue discussion with the Council and Commission. 

We also welcome proposals for a specific steel recycling target as opposed to the current legislation which combines steel and aluminium in a joint metal target. This approach will foster greater understanding of the recycling performance of all permanent materials.

The Parliament's endorsement of the concept of multiple recycling is also welcome as products and packaging materials can be kept in the material loop to become resources for other products and packaging. 

This can only contribute positively to an increased understanding of the corresponding concept of permanent materials, such as steel, which can be recycled forever. We encourage member states to take the multiple recycling principle on board in the final legislation and to incorporate the 'permanent materials' concept in the Council text.

We also strongly encourage safeguarding the 'internal market' legal base of the packaging and packaging waste directive.

Member states' national waste legislation proposals should preserve the internal market and the free circulation of packaging and packaged goods without creating disruption due to differences in interpretation or implementation. 

By strengthening the legal framework, EU policymakers can ensure the CEP realises its full potential. And our vision, at APEAL, for a closed steel loop can start to become reality.

 

About the author

Alexis Van Maercke is Secretary General of APEAL

Categories

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Partner content

This content is published by the Parliament Magazine on behalf of our partners.

Related Articles

Gianni Pittella: EU is successfully reinventing itself
14 September 2017

Parliament's S&D group leader, Gianni Pittella, has said that despite recent major setbacks, including Brexit and the migration and financial crises, the EU is now successfully reinventing...

European Parliament discusses ETS
13 September 2017

On September 11, a debate took place on the EU Emissions Trading System at the European Parliament Plenary session in Strasbourg.

Clean Energy: Facing the reality of climate change
13 September 2017

Policymakers must be bold enough to allow the EU's renewable energy sector to grow and become globally competitive, writes Patrizia Toia.

Related Partner Content

Thought leader | Umicore: Green Week 2014
28 May 2014

Properly applied resource efficiency policies can enhance Europe's competitiveness, writes Egbert Lox.

Will Europe embrace precise plant breeding or further frustrate innovation?
18 September 2017

We urgently need legal certainty to support innovation in plant breeding in the EU, writes Arjen van Tunen.