Technological watch

Industry calls for 'sensible' approach towards POPs legislation

The European Parliament has been urged to adopt a “sensible and pragmatic approach” in updating legislation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

UK MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, Julie Girling, who is also the European Parliament’s rapporteur for drawing up the regulation has come under strong criticism for the draft of the proposal which sets a concentration limit of 10ppm for decaBDE, a brominated flame retardant, in substances and products.

The new draft, which was submitted in late May, will aim to recast the current POPs regulation, which has been in place since 2004.

European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) warned in June that the limit would in effect put an end to the recycling of WEEE or ELVs in Europe.

One company to be affected by the legislation is Axion Polymers, which produces Axpoly recycled polymers, derived from automotive shredder residue and electrical end-of-life feedstocks at its two plants in Trafford Park and Salford in the UK.

In a visit to Axion’s two recycling plants earlier this month, Girling was urged to consider a “demand-creating” legislation which rewarded manufacturers with higher levels of recycled plastics in their products.

“A sensible and pragmatic limit is needed for the trace levels of banned BFRs in recycled plastics, to match those set under existing EU REACH regulations. That will allow for the growth of more waste plastics re-processing in Europe, but a 10ppm limit is a very big challenge,” said Keith Freegard, Axion Polymers associate consultant during the tour of the plant.

The European automotive manufacturers association ACEA also voiced a similar concern last month, asking the European Parliament to align the proposed decaBDE with REACH.

During her visit to Axion, Girling called for “significant investments” in developing the European recycling business, saying the parliament had been discussing different pieces of legislation for that purpose.

“Recycling is something that we all want to do. Not many people are prepared to accept that it’s expensive, requires a huge amount of capital investment and the payback has to be given some certainty and the only way to do that is through legislation, which is why we need to discuss the content of the legislation in some detail,” she added.

Publication date: 14/08/2018

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Last update: 2020-07-14