Eurofer requests proposed EU waste shipment regulation changes

Eurofer has voiced concern over European authorities’ proposal on the new Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR), Kallanish notes.

The association believes Europe should not grant the approval of strict EU standards to all OECD countries, as reports have shown evidence of serious shortcomings in waste treatment in some of them. “A proper country level assessment should be introduced for all export destinations. This would also contribute to ensure a level-playing field across operators and jurisdictions,” Eurofer notes.

The new WSR has been seen for some months as an opportunity to create stricter regulation for steel scrap exports from Europe, in order to ensure scrap is exported to countries that respect the same high environmental standards.

“The current provisions on waste export are clearly insufficient and bound to become a missed opportunity for climate, industry, citizens and the EU as a whole,” says Axel Eggert, director general of Eurofer. “We are in an absurd situation where the EU sets very high environmental standards and circular economy objectives for the internal market – that the EU steel industry fully shares – while millions of tonnes of valuable secondary raw materials are being exported to jurisdictions where these same standards and objectives are not met.”

“We cannot afford to give away a key secondary raw material such as scrap, if we want to fulfil the circular economy and climate objectives as well as ensuring EU strategic autonomy and social standards,” he adds.

When it comes to European steelmaking, 48% is based on scrap use, and this share is expected to increase further as industry transitions towards greener steel. According to Eurostat, EU ferrous scrap exports reached 19.5 million tonnes in 2021, representing 48% of all exported recyclable materials. Turkey was the largest export destination, with 13.1mt.

“Today’s draft report is a first step, especially regarding the facilitation of intra EU shipment of waste and the support for research and development. However, we encourage the Environment Committee to consider significant improvements also with regard to waste exports to third countries, supporting a sound environmental policy,” Eggert concludes.

Emanuele Norsa Italy