The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) is issuing a stark warning to European policymakers as current waste shipment proposals both risk significant job losses and hampering investment in Europe’s pioneering circular economy sector.
European recyclers already contribute 95 billion EUR in turnover to Europe’s already fragile economy. Yet up 80% of metal and paper recyclers anticipate a reduction in turnover under current waste shipment proposals. More than 300,000 EU green jobs are sustained by the sector, yet up to 50% of metal and paper recyclers warn that job losses will be inevitable.
“Policymakers have a choice. Are they on the same side as a sector at the forefront of championing a European circular economy? Or do they want to encourage the extraction of raw materials over recycling? Waste shipment rules must change course to encourage free, fair and sustainable trade of recycled materials” warned Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EuRIC.
The industry supports waste shipment restrictions that discourage exports of “problematic” waste outside the EU such as mixed plastic, unprocessed tyres, batteries and vehicules. However, it is concerned that current proposals incentivise extraction of raw materials, which is a significant source of pollution, over recycling. Not only will this hinder Europe’s ability achieve its recycling and net-zero emissions targets, but green job losses will also be unavoidable and investment in Europe’s circular economy will be significantly curtailed.