“Made in Europe recycling”. Another step towards sustainability in waste management or a protectionist measure?

waste-recycling

The possibility of prioritising recycling within the European Union was set out for the first time in November 2012, when the additional sixteenth provision of the Waste Act was published. This extended to all producers and holders of recyclable waste the option of placing priority on the carrying out of all treatment within the European Union. For some, this represents a new pathway to improvement, a further step towards greater sustainability, and improved and more transparent waste management. For others, it represents a restriction on free trade hidden behind false environmental arguments.

The legislation acknowledges the right of Spanish waste generators to decide on the final destiny of their waste and offers them the option to prioritise recycling within the European Union, thereby ensuring that such recycling is carried out in European paper mills. The promotion of the European recycling industry, the creation of green jobs in Europe, the reduction of emissions associated with waste transport, and the guarantee that recycling will be carried out in accordance with European standards are some of the arguments in favour of this legislation. However, Repacar (Spanish Recovered Paper Association) argues that the underlying economic argument behind these protectionist measures is related to the objectives of certain sectors to remain competitive with respect to industries in other countries, without taking into account the negative effects that such measures might have on other sectors in Spain or the final consequences they might have for the environment.

At Repacar, the feeling is that if we analyse the problem in a global manner, including environmental effects, there is evidence that the environmental and economic damage in the medium term will be greater if we limit the sale of recovered paper at worldwide level and stipulate common, preferential local destinies.

At Repacar, the feeling is that if we analyse the problem in a global manner, an analysis which must include the environment, there is evidence that the environmental and economic damage in the medium term will be greater if we limit the sale of recovered paper at worldwide level and stipulate common, preferential local destinies.

Article published in: FuturENVIRO December 2013