European leaders asked to introduce an EU Circular Material Use Act

FEAD, the European Waste Management Association, has published a manifesto to drive up industrial demand for secondary materials to spur on the economics of recycling

Blue plastic flakes of recycled plastic to be used in industrial manufacturingAhead of the 2024 European elections, FEAD, which ‘represents private resource and waste management industry’, has released its manifesto calling for the establishment of a Circular Material Use Act (CMUA), to support a European Industrial Deal focused on making Europe's industry ‘sustainable, competitive, and circular’.

At the centre of this manifesto is a call for EC legislators to establish incentives for manufacturers and producers to use secondary materials from European reprocessors, which will raise the value of recycling collections.

The proposed CMUA aims to set two legally binding targets: a Circular Material Use Rate target of 25 per cent by 2030, 30 per cent by 2040, and 35 per cent by 2050, and a target of 75 per cent for the recycling of all waste materials in the EU by 2035. According to FEAD, these targets are designed to direct Europe's material use towards recycled materials and promote innovation within a thriving circular economy.

FEAD President Claudia Mensi states, "For the circular economy to function, there needs to be a constant demand for recycled materials that compete with the quality standards and prices of virgin materials."

To facilitate the transition towards a comprehensive circular economy, the CMUA will focus on five key levers:

1. Aligning industrial production with the circular economy: The CMUA should scale-up industrial demand for secondary raw materials by providing incentives for manufacturers to replace virgin materials with recycled materials, combined with legally binding targets on recycled content in key sectors of the economy. This should be accompanied by a Circular Economy Investment Fund to support the transition away from primary raw materials.

2. Reinforcing EU autonomy over its resource supply: Efforts should be made to ensure that secondary raw materials reintroduced into the European industrial feedstock are sourced and recycled within the EU. The CMUA should require that all imported products placed on the EU market are subject to the same rules and requirements as products developed in the EU.

3. Leveraging the potential of waste management and the circular economy to support climate change mitigation measures: The CMUA should introduce a mechanism that recognises avoided CO2 emissions of the waste management industry and recycled materials to boost the industry's competitiveness.

4. Establishing an enforcement mechanism for European waste management legislation: The CMUA should establish an agency entrusted with monitoring the implementation of legal frameworks for the circular economy, with the possibility to penalise infringements. According to FEAD, this role could be attributed to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

5. Ensuring a competitive market for waste management: The CMUA should exclude forms of preferential treatment of public entities over private entrepreneurs and ensure that the principles of the Single Market are maintained, particularly in relation to rules on state aid and avoiding legislation that establishes ownership or restricted access over specific waste streams.

The manifesto builds upon FEAD's Vision for 2030, which was published in February.

Related Articles