FEAD president declares recycling targets set by European Commission ambitious but achievable if strong pull measures create a shock demand for recycled materials

16 April 2019

FEAD gathered Circular Economy’s key players, policy makers, key stakeholders, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee for a brainstorming workshop on 9 April, called From Setting Recycling Targets to Achieving Them.

Participants were split into groups to address the question: how can the private waste management industry and EU funding help the 14 member states falling short of their 2020 objectives, set out in the Waste Framework Directive, reach their 50% recycling target, and in general, the EU to achieve the recycling targets of the circular economy Package? The results of the fruitful event will be released this April. In an interview, FEAD’s president shares his views on how the question could be answered.

In an interview with Jean-Marc Boursier, president of FEAD, and group senior executive vice-president in charge of Finance and Northern Europe Recycling & Recovery activities at SUEZ, FEAD explained how he thinks recycling targets can be achieved.

"They are ambitious as their success depends on many external factors. We hear the word recycling a lot, but I would like to emphasise that 'recycling' is not something that exists because we say it does. Recycling exists because there is a market that collects material to be recycled and further reincorporated into new products: the private waste management market.

"[A] shock demand for recycled materials would consequently give private waste management investors the visibility and certainty they need to go ahead with investments. There is a need to invest up to €10 billion in our sector, to innovate and expand the separate collection, sorting and recycling capacity at EU level. Our industry is prepared to make the necessary investments if there are legislative measures ensuring a significant uptake of plastic recyclates.

"Public authorities, at national and local level, need to set up strong tools for preparation to ensure the success of improved selective collection. [And] citizens need to be engaged! This can be achieved through effective labelling by informing consumers about the recyclability and the percentage of mandatory recycled content in a product."


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