Raw materials: EU Commission wants to boost their recycling

April 11th, 2023

On 16 March, the European Commission published the proposal for the Critical Raw Materials Act. The aim of the initiative is to make European strategic raw material value chains more resilient through targets for extraction (10%), processing (40%), and recycling capacity (15%). These targets are indicative, thus not legally binding, but can be enforced through additional measures.

The proposal defines criteria for Strategic Projects that benefit from faster permitting procedures, joint environmental impact assessments, and support for administrative tasks. Whilst these benefits apply for all three above-mentioned stages of the value chain, a large part of the proposal focuses on circularity. All Member States will be requested to adopt and implement national programmes containing measures to increase the collection and re-use of critical raw materials.

Furthermore, the proposal establishes labelling requirements for the following products: magnetic resonance imaging devices, wind energy generators, industrial robots, motor vehicles, light means of transport, cooling generators, heat pumps, electric motors, washing machines, tumble driers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, and dishwashers.

This label must indicate if the product incorporates a permanent magnet (and what type it is). The products will also have to be accompanied by a data carrier that provides information on parameters such as contact details for the responsible natural or legal person, weight, chemical composition, and information enabling access and removal of all permanent magnets incorporated in the product. From 2031 onwards, the Commission is empowered to adopt further delegated acts laying down minimum targets for recycled content.

Parliament and Council are now tasked to convene and discuss their position on the proposal before trilogue negotiations. An agreement is expected by the end of the year.

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