March 16, 2021

FEAD welcomes the Council’s Conclusions on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

Brussels, 16 March 2021 – Yesterday, the Council of the European Union adopted Conclusions on the new EU chemicals strategy for a toxic-free environment.  The European private waste management sector, represented by FEAD, welcomes the Conclusions, stressing that the use of harmful chemicals in the EU and imported products must be phased out as to guarantee quality recycling and secondary raw materials.

In particular, FEAD, the European Waste Management Association, considers that a “safe and sustainable-by-design” approach is key for the success of the strategy’s objectives. Preventing substances of concern from entering products as early as possible, at the design phase, makes a huge difference in the whole product’s life cycle, from manufacture to use, recycling, and disposal. Yet, a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials requires not only safer materials and products, but also a more adequate disclosure of information on the chemical content of products based on a practicable and risk-based guidance for waste operators. Ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of the relevant international and EU legislation is key for high quantity and quality results, while appropriate incentives for innovative technologies can lead to better detection and removal of legacy substances in waste streams.

With regard to the same hazardous substances’ limit values for virgin and recycled materials, FEAD supports the need for exceptional derogation of the principle if the use of recycled material is limited to clearly defined applications, if there is no negative impact on consumer health and the environment, and if it is justified on a case-by-case basis. We deem that derogations are needed for closed and traceable loops, and that incentives to improve decontamination are absolutely crucial, in order to boost circularity and protect the environment.

Peter Kurth, FEAD’s President highlights: “The waste management sector is at the core of a zero-pollution ambition, fostering the transition to more sustainable value chains and end-of-life treatments. Waste management activities are pivotal for both promoting a clean and safe environment, and for ensuring a truly circular economy. What we need to make our work successful, is consistency between recycling targets and rules related to legacy substances, and investments in better selective collection of waste and in depolluting systems.”

FEAD Secretariat