RREUSE and Furniture Re-use Network response to EU revised circular economy package

Posted on the 5th December 2015

The Circular Economy Package was an opportunity to turn the tide, but it's missed the mark.

Michal Len, Director, RREUSE

The European Commission’s revised Circular Economy Package, if left unchanged, will not do enough to develop local re-use centres, create jobs and stem the tide of re-usable goods sent to recycling or landfill every year according to RREUSE.

According to recent estimates, one third of all material arriving at recycling centres could still be re-used and at least one quarter of electronic waste still has significant re-use value. An estimated six million tonnes of textile waste is either landfilled or incinerated in the EU every year.

Commenting on today’s proposals, Michal Len, director of RREUSE said:

“In recent years, the heavy emphasis on recycling in the EU has meant resource-efficient repair and re-use has been hit hard. The Circular Economy Package was an opportunity to turn the tide, but it’s missed the mark.

“While we welcome some of the encouraging language on opening up access for re-use organisations to waste collection facilities and the aspirations to boost repair by improving availability of spare parts and service manuals, there is precious little in the way of binding measures. Critically, despite a new proposed methodology there is no legally binding separate target for preparation for re-use, only encouragement for member states that want to do this. It’s vitally important that preparation for re-use becomes a clear part of the legal framework, not left as an afterthought for voluntary action.

“We are also concerned that some of the language of the proposals could, if left unchecked, have serious consequences. It is possible that proposed changes to the legal definition of preparation for re-use could result in some re-use organisations currently not subjected to complex waste legislation and heavy standards, potentially having to do so. Existing obligations on producer responsibility to support preparation for re-use activities risks also being eroded.”

Craig Anderson, CEO of the Furniture Re-Use Network and member of RREUSE board of directors added: “We do welcome the essence of the overall Circular Economy package and respect that it is breaking silos in the Commission and contributing to broad political priorities by tackling climate change and environment whilst boosting job creation, economic growth and social fairness. However, in this circumstance, the devil is in the detail and part of the package’s proposed amendments will make it very difficult for those in the reuse sector.”

“Reuse is not really about waste – it is about products being in service, safe and used by consumers. Although we work with waste infrastructure to get waste products out of waste streams, we cannot be put at risk by unduly burdensome misdirected policy decisions. Nor can we be put at risk by grammatical nuances and misplaced commas. It leaves us alarmed and begging the question ‘how can a ‘non-waste’ product legally be in scope of an EU waste directive?’”

The waste proposals are now in the hands of Member States and the European Parliament with negotiations over the final legislative texts set to continue throughout 2016. RREUSE, together with its members will be working to ensure these issues are addressed.


For more information, please contact FRN on:

Bex Jones

Marketing and Communications Officer

FRN

bexj@frn.org.uk

0117 954 3552

or

Michal Len

Director

RREUSE

michal.len@rreuse.org

+32 (0)2 894 46 12

www.rreuse.org


Notes to the Editors:

The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) is the national representative for over 200 reuse charities in the UK.
For the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) it is re-use that provides an answer to the UK’s serious waste problem – turning it into a solution for the alleviation of poverty instead. By shifting behavioural attitudes of the public and corporations and using innovative schemes such as retail take-back scheme and supporting product stewardship, the FRN is a game-changer in putting the circular economy into motion.

The Reuse and Recycling EU Social Enterprises network (RREUSE) is a representative body for national and regional networks of social enterprises with re-use, repair and recycling activities. Approximately 130,000 workers, trainees and volunteers work throughout our 30 member organisations across 16 European countries and the U.S.A. Although structures and national contexts are diverse, RREUSE members share common elements such as the protection of the environment, the fight against poverty and, especially, the progress of disadvantaged people back into the labour market. RREUSE’s main goal is to put sustainable development into practice by encouraging job creation and social inclusion in the field of waste prevention and sustainable waste management activities.

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