To “REACH” or to Recycle?!

Since the past decades, due to the broad range of environmental legislation to reduce the risks that can be posed by chemicals, a new dilemma has arisen: how to deal with the use of chemicals while working on durability and recycling of products?
The paradigm originated from this inconsistent policy background has been object of the conference organized by EurActive in cooperation with TEPPFA, held in Brussels this March, 24th 2015.

Paul Rubig, MEP, said: “Reach plays a very important role to give a framework in recycling today; the question is how we can take both in a very efficient and transparent way, that incentives the reaching of the targets as soon as possible”.

In the picture, from the left: Paul RÜBIG, MEP, Bjorn HANSEN, DG ENVI HoU Chemicals, Tony CALTON, TEPPFA General Manager, Klaus BEREND, DG GROW HoU REACH, Michael WARHURST, CHEM Trust Executive Director

Tony Calton, TEPPFA General Manager, underlined: “We have the potential to recycle very large volumes of materials that have already been used and are in service at the moment but, when they eventually come to the end of life, we also need to address how they can be recycle in a practical way, complying with Reach but acknowledging that they may contain substances that are now on the list of harmful substances. We have already the solution, we use recycled material in multilayer pipes, the recyclate is never in contact with the environment and the performance of pipes containing recyclate is the same as pipes make with virgin raw material. What the industry needs is holistic approach in European policies”.

There is common consensus that the existing recycled raw material is a precious resource which the society cannot waste. Medium term solutions have to be compromised in order to promote and make recycling possible and affordable also for SME’s. As Cees Luttikhuizen, Senior policy adviser and Ministry of Housing for the Spatial Planning and Environment of Netherlands, pointed out, for many companies there are some complications to meet the requirements; especially for the SMEs, this kind of activity could be not the normal practice.

                              Tony Calton, TEPPFA General Manager

While calling for a more resource efficient Europe, by increasing recycling targets, the EC may have to look at its environmental policies from a more systemic approach. This could be achieved by carefully analyzing the trade-offs existing among the different pieces of legislation, as one piece of policy might be disruptive to achieve the goals of another one.
In the future more effective ways of recycling will be an industrial reality; as Paul Rubig said: “We should start now to create a sustainable world for children. The main tasking is to bet on incentives and motivations to create growth and new jobs”.

More interviews of the event can be found here