European Parliament (EP) to adopt circular economy report

EU waste legislation should not slow down production

The European Parliament is planning to take position on the circular economy in Europe on 8 July 2015, by means of an own-initiative report. According to the VCI, this document includes an excessive tightening of rules for industrial processes. In particular, the association criticizes extreme requirements like a waste incineration ban or absolute targets for the consumption of natural resources. The chemical industry processes raw materials highly efficiently, already for economic reasons. Absolute targets would amount to a brake on growth.

VCI comments EU plans for a circular economy: An excessive tightening of rules for industrial processes is not only unnecessary but also inefficient. - Photo: © Europäische Kommission
VCI comments EU plans for a circular economy: An excessive tightening of rules for industrial processes is not only unnecessary but also inefficient. - Photo: © Europäische Kommission

The German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) supports the goal of a sustainable circular economy in Europe. But from the VCI’s perspective, an excessive tightening of rules for industrial processes, as proposed by the European Parliament in its planned report, is not only unnecessary but also inefficient.

VCI director-general Utz Tillmann comments: “We share the view that a careful management of resources and a consistent waste management are the central prerequisites for a sustainable circular economy. The German chemical industry has been putting this into practice for many years. But with extreme demands, like a far-reaching incineration ban for waste or continuous reductions in the absolute consumption of natural resources, the European Parliament goes beyond these objectives.”

According to Tillmann, the EP’s concept amounts to an arbitrary limitation of production for the chemical industry: “Our industry processes raw materials highly efficiently, already for economic reasons. With rising production, chemical companies should also be able to use more raw materials in the future.”

The VCI director-general sees the EP’s calls for much tighter recycling quotas and absolute waste prevention targets as brakes to growth too.

Tillmann: “At the time being, many wastes simply cannot be prevented in production processes so that no further reductions are feasible.”

The EU Commission is planning to present a new EU circular economy package in late 2015. Tillmann urgently calls upon the Commission to move ahead with the right sense of proportion, in order to leave enough scope for the manufacturing industry. By way of example, he mentions the energy recovery of waste which, beside recycling, helps save oil and natural gas in the production of everyday goods. The far-reaching incineration ban as demanded by the EP limits the possibility of preserving valuable fossil resources.

Tillmann points out that there are still EU Member States where – contrary to existing EU legislation – waste is not sufficiently minimised and recovered but continues to be channelled almost entirely into landfilling. Such shortcomings should be eliminated first of all, so that more sustainable standards can come to bear for an effective circular economy throughout the European Union.

Over the past years, the volume of so-called “waste for disposal” has been decoupled from production growth in the German chemical industy. As compared with 1995, the generation of such waste has been reduced by 80 percent to currently 0.8 million tonnes per annum.


The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2014 the German chemical industry realised sales of more than 190 billion euros and employed 444,800 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de
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Contacts

Dipl.-Pol. Oliver Claas

E-Mail: claas@vci.de