Fortum is active in the circular economy and has a special interest in several initiatives listed in the EU’s new circular economy action plan: we treat waste, decontaminate recycling streams, we recycle and produce recycled raw materials, we remediate contaminated land and we supply cities with recovered energy. We save natural resources when we recover the valuables, and we prevent waste that can harm the environment and human health. This position paper highlights the conditions that we consider as prerequisites for a sustainable clean circular economy.
- Decontamination is key to a clean circular economy and to the development of well-functioning markets for high-quality recycled materials. The decontamination principle should be recognised also in the EU waste hierarchy.
- The EU needs to move forward to improve the circularity of plastics and avoid plastics that have a detrimental impact on the environment through improved design for recycling, separate collection systems, increased capacity for high-quality recycling and the use of high-quality recycled plastics.
- A strong battery value chain is of strategic value for the EU. Sustainability requirements along the value chain from cradle to cradle, including safe recycling measures, will facilitate the ability to recycle valuable materials many times over.
- Waste leaking from the EU is one of the root causes of the lack of investments in recycling capacity in the EU. Addressing this concern and making “recycled in the EU” a benchmark for high-quality secondary materials will significantly promote investments in recycling and will help the transition to the EU’s circular economy.
- Recovering excess heat from waste treatment activities for use in urban DH systems must be further encouraged. The responsibility for the emissions from treating waste should be allocated to the manufacturers and consumers of the products themselves.
Europe needs to develop well-functioning markets for recycled materials so that the recycled material can compete with virgin alternatives over time. Consumers, as well as manufacturers, play important roles in increasing the demand for recycled materials and will be strong drivers in the transition to a circular economy. Manufacturers are dependent on a stable supply of raw materials. For manufacturers and consumers alike, confidence in the quality and assurance of the non-toxic material cycles is of high importance.