Fortum´s position on the Commissions initiative to address the interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation

Circular economy needs waste classification starting with hazardous assessment. The EU list of waste should be renewed. EU wide end-of waste criteria need to be developed.

Hazardous waste

Fortum regards the following issues as key development points when moving forward with concrete measures to improve the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation:

#1 The scope of substances of concern

Define and name “substances of concern” in a way that indicates the intention that those substances shouldn’t be recycled into secondary raw materials. 

#2 Substances of concern in recycled materials

Primary and secondary raw materials should be subject to the same rules in regard to substances of concern, with derogations from the rules under certain well-controlled conditions such as repair of equipment with spare parts to avoid unnecessary early decommissioning, provided there isn’t any increased risk for adverse impact on human health or the environment.

The same rules should apply to imported articles and to EU-produced articles.

The Eco-design directive or other product-specific legislation can be very appropriate for introducing requirements for substances of concern in products with the purpose of enabling recovery.

#3 Uncertainties about how materials can cease to be waste

EU-wide end-of-waste criteria are needed for certain common and large-volume materials with a short life span in order to bring these materials back into circulation.

#4 Difficulties in the application of EU waste classification methodologies and impact on the recyclability of materials (secondary raw materials)

Hazardous classification should be based on the assessment of the intrinsic hazardous properties of the waste. In cases where the waste displays intrinsic hazardous properties, in certain applications bioavailability could be very low, a risk assessment for the application could be the best solution to circulate the material for that use. Legislation must not hinder that.

Fortum urges the Commission to reconsider a review of the procedure for waste classification to always start with assessing the hazardous properties by using existing information about the waste or characterisation.

Read the whole postition paper.