GPRMC (European Composites Industry Association) Updates

02 August 2001

As far as FRP waste management is concerned the European composites industry is at this moment at a very critical stage. This is because EU legislation (and especially the new directives on landfill and ELV) pushes industry away from landfill and energy recovery towards mechanical recycling or reuse, and because customers (especially in the automotive and electric/electronic field) are asking the industry for its composite waste management concept. Customers now ask component suppliers to sign that they accept the responsibility for recycling the end-of life waste. But a signature is not enough. On top of that buyers should also asks their composite component suppliers to become actively involved in FRP waste management, and buy only from those component suppliers that recycle FRP waste.

The FRP waste problem is not solved because 1° the existing composite recycling companies turn at very low capacity and 2° quite a lot of new markets for FRP recyclate must still be found and developed before one can really recycle most of the FRP waste that is produced today. According to the working group president the following points are necessary: 1° proof that the work we do on recycling and waste management is important, 2° commitment from the final customer that he wants recycling, 3° penalties for free riding companies that do not contribute, 4° cost sharing and 5° exchange of information amongst participants, 6° commitment from FRP producers themselves: The composites manufacturers themselves must take the responsibility to develop markets for FRP recyclate. Commitment from the FRP producers can be realised by creating a GPRMC ""green FRP recycling label"" which tells customers that companies carrying the label participate actively in the development of FRP waste management and recycling. The net income generated from the label (after deducting GPRMC's costs) should be used to develop FRP recycling (e.g. to pay for R&D work in order to develop markets for the recyclate). A task force will further develop the label idea.

During its meeting in Copenhagen the Health, Safety, Food and Drinking Water Contact Working Group decided that the chapter about 'styrene exposure in FRP manufacturing' in the first draft of the Styrene Risk Assessment report had to be completely rewritten because it was exclusively based on old data. It is important that GPRMC tries to include in the final version a lot of 'realistic up-to-date data' about worker exposure to styrene from as many countries as possible, and covering as many modern FRP manufacturing techniques as possible. The national associations need full co-operation from their members upon collecting these data.

Just as he did during previous meetings the GPRMC secretary general drew once again the attention to a whole series of products falling under the so-called harmonised directives that require obligatory CE marking and involve a lot of CEN standardisation. During the meeting the working group members went together through the list of the involved 21 harmonised directive groups and came to the conclusion that the composites industry is involved in most of them. A lot of work has to be done by the companies involved in order to be ready to obtain the required obligatory CE marking, without which companies will be no longer allowed to sell on the European market after the so-called transition period. The EU composites industry is paying too little attention to CE marking.

Given that GPRMC (European Composites Industry Association) was created on 14 November 1960 the Management Committee celebrated the 40th anniversary of GPRMC. In comparison with 1960 a lot has changed. Europe is almost like one big country: one single market with the Euro as common currency, common CEN standards, and more and more harmonised European legislation decided upon by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. Because today most basic decisions are made at European level all larger composite manufacturers should give more support to the European Composites Industry Association GPRMC, which represents their interests at European level. Companies wanting to sponsor GPRMC can find a sponsor ship reply form on the GPRMC web site

Composite manufacturers wanting additional information are kindly requested to contact their national association. A list of the national GPRMC member associations can be found on the GPRMC web site

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