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BIR welcomes circular economy action plan

The Bureau of International Recycling, the global federation of recycling industries, has welcomed the EU’s support for recyclers as laid out in their new Circular Economy Action Plan.

The action plan will benefit the European member companies of BIR, which are collecting, sorting and processing wastes to produce secondary raw materials. It will also benefit companies providing services to recyclers as well as recycling machinery and equipment manufacturers.

The action plan supports reuse above recycling. For generations, certain BIR members have collected goods for reuse, principally clothing, accessories and footwear. Driving up the quality, durability and performance of goods will naturally also support reuse, repair and refurbishment. Reuse and recycling will co-exist, after all end-of-life goods have been collected into recycling enterprises. As the action plan will deliver clean material loops, increase recycling capacity and get secondary raw materials to market, BIR members should be encouraged about a healthy future up to and beyond 2050 on a climate-neutral continent. The possibility of financial support to certain Member States through EU funds to build up high quality, high volume recycling value chains in the EU is very welcome, as will be the enforcement tools to drive reforms.

The action plan rightly highlights that hazardous substances need to be tackled at design stage and minimised at recycling stage. Yet, it does not foresee relieving recyclers of the economic burden of removing substances of concern from waste. Overall, it is instrumental to improve the interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation to support – instead of hamper – circular flows. Recyclers also welcome that the European Commission will assess the need to develop, union-wide, criteria for end-of-waste and by-products. BIR recognises that a worldwide circular economy will be at the core of achieving the sustainable development goals at a global level.