On 26th September, a numerous number of stakeholders among them representatives of industries, European federations, civil society, national public authorities and EU institutions gathered for the conference “Reinventing plastics – Closing the circle” in view of the forthcoming plastic strategy.
Nicolas HUMEZ, as chairman of HWE, delivered a targeted presentation – that you can find Here in the panelist cession dealing with “Interface between product, waste and chemical policy: how to balance phasing out legacy substances with higher recycling rates?”
It was the opportunity to highlight the key necessity to promote high quality recycling -and to use the words of First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans “not only because it is the right thing to do for the environment, but because it is the smart thing to do for the economy”- in discussions that often focus merely on quantitative targets.
HWE puts the emphasis on the absolute necessity to couple high quality recycling rates with quality criteria. Waste producers and operators should avoid operations that circumvent the rules by using declassification and dilution so as to reach recycling targets more easily, and which unfortunately considerably contaminate the quality of recyclates with substances of concerns and endanger at the same time health and the environment.
It implies notably to make a clear distinction between waste – that should be hazard-based because we ignore the further fate of the waste and product that is designed to meet specific uses and for which a risk based approach will validate that there will be no adverse risks for this use. We should then favor recycling in closed and controlled loop.
These principles have been precised in the HWE’s answer to the consultation on the interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation and identification of policy options (July 2017) that you can find Here .
The promotion of non-toxic material cycles and better tracking of chemicals of concern in products that the EU commission is calling is at the core of the very recently published Study Link here for the strategy for a non-toxic environment of the 7th Environment Action Programme, that perfectly echoes the DDT (Decontamination, Non-Dilution and Traceability) principle promoted by HWE.