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EU chemical industry points to missed opportunities in Waste Framework Directive


23 Mar 2016


Sustainable Dev.
Climate & Environment
Trade & Society

A new Cefic position paper points to missed opportunities in the proposed reform of the Waste Directive to enhance implementation of the Circular Economy and benefit business and the environment.

Current proposals to reform the Waste Directive miss the chance to enhance the reintegration of industrial waste back into the manufacturing loop. Cefic – the European chemical industry – is calling for a more ambitious proposal that defines by-products in such a way that industry can ensure instead of being disposed of, they are reabsorbed into industrial production, as emphasised within the Circular Economy.

Europe’s chemical industry has long recognised and put into practice that where possible, industrial materials should be reintegrated in the production process. However, some materials are given a classification by the Directive that acts as a barrier to this, despite no safety or pollution risk. Classifying valuable materials as waste discourages investment in better business practices to optimise their use.

CASE STUDY: Glycerine

Crude glycerine is a production residue the chemical industry uses to manufacture products such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. However, some national authorities classify it as waste, meaning it cannot be reintegrated in production processes. This constitutes the needless loss of a valuable resource. Read more here.

Cefic, in its new position paper calls for an amendment to the provisions on by-products under the Waste Framework Directive to ensure no valuable materials are classified as waste. It also recommends under the REFIT programme to assess the extent the current definition of waste is apt for the transition towards the Circular Economy. In the long term, the EU should move from a waste to a resource-oriented legislative framework to maintain the value of materials for as long as possible.

Contact: Dervla Gleeson, Cefic Media Relations Manager, + 32 2 676 7289 (


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