The EU Commission presented an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy in all EU member states at the beginning of December. Nontoxic recycling is an important goal of the plan.
Representatives of nongovernmental agencies like the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), and CHEMtrust reacted to the plans positively, but the European Chemical Industry Council, CEFIC, regards them more critically.
The presence of toxic materials handicaps the circular economy significantly, according to Tatiana Santos of the EBB and Michael Warhurst of CHEMtrust. For example, plasticizers like the phthalate DEHP hinder effective recycling of synthetic materials.
CEFIC Director Hubert Mandery also sees the need for action. However, he does not insist on a complete ban for risky substances. He calls for safe handling of risky chemicals, which is also possible in the context of a circular economy. He expressed disappointment that the EU did not clearly define waste. Regulatory hurdles would mean the loss of valuable resources in the circular economy, according to Mandery.
In the next step, the plans will be presented to the European Parliament, which is required to accept the suggestions and then implement them.
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