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Meeting of GPRMC with the European Commission and Eurostat

23 March 2003

Because products containing FRP parts are sold all over Europe and European waste legislation applies to all EU and EFTA countries the composites industry needs a European wide solution for end-of-life FRP Waste.

The Green FRP Label is a ""pan European FRP composite waste management concept"" developed by GPRMC with as main objectives to 1: ""deal with FRP waste in Europe in the most cost effective way (reuse, recycling, material and energy recovery, land fill - with a particular accent on recycling) whilst respecting all environmental and other obligations imposed by European, national and local legislation"" and 2: to ""develop new, economically viable markets for FRP recyclate"" so that the FRP industry can meet at the recycling targets imposed by specific European legislation such as the ELV and WEEE Directives. GPRMC continues to put a lot of effort into the start of the ""Green FRP Recycling Label"" and got the support of the CEFIC UP resin manufacturers, in particular DSM, and the members of the European SMC Alliance. GPRMC hopes to get also the full support of the APFE reinforcing glass fibre manufacturers. But, most of all GPRMC and its national member associations need the full support and co-operation of all composite manufacturers in Europe.

On February 14 GPRMC and its national member associations were invited by the European Commission and Eurostat for a one day meeting in order to openly discuss the impact of new EU legislation on the composites industry.

- The New Chemicals Policy and the accompanying REACH system will impose new rules for safe dealing with chemicals based upon the intended use, and this not only for manufacturers (as it used to be in the past), but now also for downstream formulators and users. GPRMC argued that composite manufacturers should be rather considered as simple users and as not as formulators. Many products are used as additives in composites are produced in rather small quantities. An important question for the composites industry therefore is what will happen if a producer decides to stop the production of some indispensable chemicals used in small quantities in composite manufacturing because he does not want to invest in research to provide all the data required by the REACH system?

- Whilst discussing EU waste legislation the European Commission said that FRP waste cannot be considered to be inert waste from the landfill point of view, that EU legislation itself does not forbid land filling of FRP waste but that on the basis of annex II national legislation may limit the landfill of FRP waste by imposing specific landfill criteria (such as energy content). Most EU members states have forbidden or intend to forbid landfill of FRP waste from 2005 onwards. This, and the ELV and WEEE directives make that the FRP industry has to look for alternative solutions. Because FRP waste is not in the Green-Amber-Red list each cross border transport of composite waste has to be notified, and the companies have to argue for each transport why it should be considered as Green waste. Notification is obligatory for each individual transport. Because it is expensive to build FRP recycling plants in each country GPRMC argued this may hinder cross border transport of FRP waste to composite recycling plants. Given the severe targets of the ELV Directive, GPRMC pleaded in favour of energy recovery from plastics reinforced with renewable natural fibres when the European Commission said it does not consider pyrolysis to be a recycling process.

- Because the composites industry needs reliable statistical data GPRMC proposed Eurostat to introduce statistical headings for fibre reinforced plastics during the international revision of the ISIC and the European revision of NACE.

The speaker of Eurostat made it clear that GPRMC will need not only the support of the national statistical delegates of the EU member states in order to obtain the required majority for the NACE revision, but also the support of many other countries world wide (and especially the USA, Canada, Mexico) for the world wide revision of the ISIC system.

- Next the impact of EU enlargement was discussed.

- The last speaker of the European Commission gave an interesting overview of the SME Support Programmes of the European Commission. Companies are requested to contact their national association for more information.

The main goal of GPRMC remains to unite the whole composites industry in Europe into one single European Composites Industry Association. Therefore we invite composite manufacturers to create and strengthen national composite industry associations in all EU, candidate EU and EFTA countries and to participate via their national association in the work of GPRMC and the contact of GPRMC with the European Commission, The European Parliament, CEN and Eurostat.






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