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‘EU Embraces Recycling as Central to Future Industrial Strategy’

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Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director of Circular Economy for the European Commission, has pledged a key role for auto recyclers in the bloc’s upcoming industrial strategy. In a speech at the International Automobile Recycling Convention (IARC) in Antwerp on June 20th, he acknowledged the challenges posed by past regulations and promised a more collaborative approach.


Ciobanu-Dordea emphasized the importance of shifting from a “waste” to a “resource” perspective. He proposed revising the Waste Directive to reflect this focus and hinted at potential tax breaks for products with recycled content. Chemical recycling was also embraced as a valuable complement to mechanical recycling.


Focus on Circularity and Resource Retention

The Commissioner acknowledged the recent EU elections and the need to convince new policymakers. He stressed that circularity is essential for the EU’s economic survival and highlighted the importance of retaining critical raw materials within the bloc.


Tax Incentives and a Level Playing Field

While acknowledging the political difficulty of taxing virgin materials more heavily, Ciobanu-Dordea proposed tax breaks for recycled materials to make them more competitive. He indicated that this option is under active consideration.


Transforming Waste Management into Resource Management

The Commissioner acknowledged the industry’s call to convert the Waste Directive into a resource directive, but cautioned that it would be a significant undertaking.


End-of-Life Vehicle Directive Update

Ciobanu-Dordea expressed hope for the July 2025 implementation of the revised End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (ELV Directive). He praised recent progress and urged continued collaboration with the automotive sector, particularly car manufacturers. He emphasized the need for industry-wide support, including from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).


Chemical Recycling’s Role and Collaboration

The Commissioner believes the proposed eco-design directive will complement the ELV Directive by promoting the sustainability of steel, aluminum, and tires. He also expects the Single Use Plastics Directive to recognize the value of chemical recycling. While emphasizing that mechanical recycling won’t be disadvantaged, he sees a role for chemical recycling, particularly in tire recycling.

Ciobanu-Dordea concluded by assuring the ELV sector of ongoing support and collaboration with the automotive industry. He stressed the EU’s commitment to making rapid progress with industry backing.