FEAD’s position paper on Chemical Recycling:

9 December 2019

Considering the increasing attention chemical recycling is receiving as an alternative route for treating waste, FEAD, by recognising the interest to closely monitor its development and potential, points out key elements to be taken into account during the discussions undertaken on chemical recycling at the European level.

First of all, as a result of the vivid debate on plastic pollution, the issue tends to be reduced to a technique to recycle plastic polymers. Yet, chemical recycling is a much broader concept than the recycling of plastics, as the latter has a much broader scope that deals with a wide range of materials.


FEAD positions itself on three areas pivotal to the ongoing discussions on chemical recycling:


  1. FEAD excludes the idea of changing the definition of recycling contained in the Waste Framework Directive, as it appropriately addresses chemical recycling in its current definition.
  2. FEAD deems necessary to conduct an independent study to assess the CO2 footprint as well as a cost analysis of chemical recycling compared to mechanical recycling. As a matter of fact, to date, it is not clear whether the promoted technologies are environmentally and economically advantageous compared to mechanical recycling.
  3. In order to create a level playing field between chemical and mechanical recycling, chemical recycling installations have to be classified as waste treatment plants and consequently comply with the relevant legislation on waste.


For further information please contact FEAD’s Secretariat at info@fead.be

FEAD is the European federation representing the private waste and resource management industry across Europe. FEAD’s members are national waste management associations covering 19 EU Member States, and Norway. Our companies play a key role in the transition to a circular economy by producing resources which can be reinjected in the economy and by supplying energy. They add value through innovative collection, sorting, recycling of secondary raw materials, material or energy recovery, in a competitive environment.  In doing so, they play a key role in achieving the best economic and environmental outcomes. For further information, you can find us on Twitter: @FEADInfo & Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/fead-waste and at fead.be.

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