The dramatic increase in energy prices poses a substantial challenge to the European recycling industries. Major European recycling companies, including SMEs, have already significantly reduced or entirely suspended production. In these exceptional circumstances, the sector is urging policymakers to enact immediate financial aid to prevent significant long-term damage to European recycling.
Olivier François, President of the European Recycling Industries Confederation (EuRIC) said:
“Recycling is an intricate process that operates uninterrupted 7 days a week. We cannot simply turn our production on and off like a light switch” He added: “Europe’s recyclers are unable to cope with soaring energy costs and this poses a direct threat to Europe’s climate neutral and circular economy ambitions and to green local jobs we sustain.”
While the recycling industry has grown steadily in Europe, driven largely by vibrant entrepreneurship and incentives to use more recycled materials in products, only 12% of materials used in production in the EU are from recycling. Mounting energy prices are now reversing this progress, bringing recycling companies, particularly SMEs, to their knees.
In this context, it is important to stress that recycling saves not only significant CO2 emissions but also energy when compared to extracted raw materials. Therefore, we urge European policymakers to act coherently to incentivise the use of recycled materials through the implementation of carbon credits, green public procurement and binding recycled content targets.