EU Define FRP Composite Recycling Regulations

13 August 2004

The latest waste directives, defined by the EU have posed a growing challenge for the European FRP industry.

In order to comply with these regulations, manufacturers involved in this sector have been prompted to come up with new concepts of waste management. In only a short time of formation, with the guidance of its founding members, the European Composite Recycling Services Company (ECRC) has made large strides in developing viable waste management methods, supported by the automotive community and in recruiting new members across Europe to participate in the concept.

The companies involved in the FRP market initiative have announced, that their organisation is now officially incorporated.

The motivating factor to form the co-operative company based in Brussels, was the reality that the composite FRP business needed to move away from traditional waste management techniques. Specific policies have been developed by the EU-Waste Directives (a part of the EU Environmental Program) that regulate how the industry should manage this process which, includes:
Landfill 1999/31 states that, landfills with composites waste will be forbidden by most EU member states at the end of 2004.
End-of-Life-Vehicles 2000/53 directive will begin in 2005; it has set strong objectives on the level of reuse and guidelines for all suppliers involved in the life cycle.
Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment 2002/96 focuses on avoiding production waste and sets recycling targets for all suppliers involved in the life cycle.

The concept was developed by European manufactures involved in the FRP value chain (raw material suppliers, compounders and moulders) and cooperative efforts from the EuCIA (former GPRMC) and associated bodies (CEFIC and APFE). The founding members include: DSM Composite Resins, Johns Manville, Owens Corning, EuCIA, Lonza, Reichhold, INoPLAST, Menzolit-Fibron and Saint-Gobain

The goals set-forth to achieve this European wide system are intended to:
Establish an organisation comprised of an European, operative network for recycling composite parts in all market sectors including the logistic system.
Create and implement performance criterion for certified recycling centers geographically distributed across Europe.
Organise and finance R&D programs to develop new technologies for recycling and reuse of FRP waste.
Implement precautionary measures to reduce manufacturing waste.
Increase the knowledge and publicity of the concept towards end-users, authorities and institutions.
Develop and establish new markets and outlets for recycled material.

The founding members worked together to develop the working concept, quite often referred in the industry as the “Green FRP Recycling Label” or simply “Green Label.” The term “Green Label” is defined as the actual name of the initiative, but it is not only recognized as an initiative, but as a manufacturing label in the industry, which will be applied to parts and indicates that all parties involved have fulfilled their contribution. It signifies a guarantee to the OEMs that a part carrying the label, qualifies it as meeting the requirements of the waste management concept. On the other hand, it is serves as a guarantee for OEMs, that FRP suppliers authorized to use the label are contributing to the effort of recycling FRP waste and also finding new applications and markets for recycled waste.

Becoming a member of the ECRC, allows affiliates to use the “Green FRP Recycling Label” symbol on materials produced. Other advantages include having access to waste management concepts and recycling facilities according the latest European waste directives. The burdens of handling of end-of-life waste will be taken over by the ECRC.

Companies are encouraged to join the ECRC now! Those interested in becoming members of the ECRC can contact one of the member companies.

For the rest of 2004, efforts will continue to rollout the concept to the FRP industry and recruit new members into the company. Potential outlets and options for re-using materials (such as cement in the building industry) will be evaluated.

The new ECRC website will be launched later this year.

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