Parliament raises recycling goals in EU Critical Raw Materials Act

(EurActiv, 7 Sep 2023) The EU will aim to recycle at least 45% of each “Strategic Raw Material” contained in the Union’s waste under plans voted on by the European Parliament’s industry committee on Thursday (7 September).

The new recycling goals were voted on as part of the Parliament’s position on the Critical Raw Materials Act, which aims to reduce the bloc’s dependency on China and other countries for key metals like rare earths.

The Parliament’s position was supported by a wide majority, with 53 votes in favour, one against and five abstentions, reflecting broad support among the assembly’s political groups.

“Europe needs a stable supply of key raw materials for its green transition,” said Henrike Hahn, a German lawmaker and the Green’s speaker on industrial policy in the European Parliament. “Materials such as lithium and rare earths are indispensable for key products of Europe’s green and digital future, such as solar panels, windmills, electric cars, and computer chips,” she added.

Unveiled by the European Commission in March, the proposal sets benchmarks to increase domestic capacity for raw materials extraction, processing and recycling, with aspirational targets corresponding to 10, 40 and 15% of the EU’s annual consumption.

But the Parliament turned this logic around to ensure the EU recycles directly from its own waste streams. “We have improved the recycling benchmark by changing the approach and referring to a Union recycling capacity in proportion of all Strategic Raw Materials contained in waste,” Hahn said.

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EurActiv, 7 Sep 2023: Parliament raises recycling goals in EU Critical Raw Materials Act