Marbella, June 8, 2023. Marbella recently hosted the 20th National Recovery and Recycling Congress. The main event on the transformation of waste into resources that takes place annually in Spain, organized by the Spanish Federation for Recovery and Recycling (FER), has achieved a participation record in this edition with more than 500 delegates.
In his presentation, Ion Olaeta, president of FER, highlighted the importance of the event reaching its twentieth edition. He said:
“Two decades ago around this time, we were in Sanlúcar de Barrameda to celebrate our second Congress, from which we still remember anecdotes and good times today; That was the beginning of a series of annual meetings that, 20 years later, have brought us back to Andalusia.”
“Currently, we are witnessing a situation that we can describe as a transition, as a society and as a sector, towards new consumption, production, energy, mobility, regulatory and even waste management models; but, in the face of this period of uncertainty, you can be sure that this federation will be by your side at all times and, proof of this, is the program that we have prepared, in which highly topical issues will be discussed, such as the impact in the sector of the scarcity of some raw materials; the lights and shadows of the extended producer responsibility systems, increasingly present in our day to day, or the challenge that fire risk coverage is posing for us,” explained Olaeta.
Next, Félix Romero, First Deputy Mayor of the Marbella Town Hall, highlighted the work carried out by FER: “It has become a main actor in representing recyclers, both nationally and internationally, demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development.”.
“Marbella is a leader in green tourism; it is one of the Spanish cities with the best air quality, and it is demanding the most modern and efficient technologies for sustainable development”, added the representative of the Consistory.
For his part, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, Minister of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy of the Junta de Andalucía, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, Minister of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy of the Junta de Andalucía, began his speech by pointing out the importance of the congress being held in Marbella, “which is the capital of the Costa del Sol and which is going to position itself as the national epicenter of recycling.”
“There are few matters as important as the ability to recover and recycle and give a second use to raw materials, which is why the participation of the Junta de Andalucía in this congress is essential”, the counselor continued, “so we give our thanks to the 500 congressmen and to FER, as organizer, for having chosen this autonomous community; and also, of course, to all those companies and professional associations that lead the way in changing linear production to a circular one.”
“From the Junta de Andalucía, we have the new Circular Economy Law, which aspires to subsidize responsible companies in terms of recycling and make this autonomous community the land that we all dream of, managing, reusing and converting our waste to stop extracting resources from nature as an essential objective”, explained Fernández-Pacheco. “To do this, we have a business fabric that has understood that the change in model is inexorable and that understands that valuing waste and reintroducing it into the production cycle is a fundamental pillar to gain competitiveness, in the same way, that the recycling market is growing from parallel to citizen awareness”, he concluded.
INCIDENCE OF THE SHORTAGE OF RAW MATERIALS IN RECYCLING
This was followed by the presentation “The scarcity of raw materials and the incidence in recycled markets”, by Alejandro Moreno, co-director of the German office and director of the Spanish branch of StoneX.
Moreno has verified the existing deficit in the markets of some basic metals, mainly due to “the green transition”, such as aluminum, zinc, tin or copper, in their applications for “renewable energy technologies and the electrification of transport”. The person in charge of StoneX has also stated key factors to take into account in 2023 in the incidence of scarcity of raw materials, such as “the prices and availability of energy –for example, rationing–; political and social unrest in regions such as South America; the risk of protectionism of natural resources, for example, in Indonesia; the speed of technological changes and the influence of ESG pressures, and the reorientation towards recycling”.
“It is very foreseeable that there will be a rebound in the recovery and recycling sector as suppliers of raw materials when the economy is reactivated”, Moreno has predicted, who has also provided some data from the Eurozone to illustrate it: “Two-thirds of the lead that consumed is recycled; 70% of aluminum is recycled, and more steel is recycled than consumed”.
“A study by Mckinsey estimates that in 2031 there will be a deficit of 6.6 million tons of copper in the world, so it will be an opportunity for the sector,” he concluded.
Next, Santiago Garrido, Public and Regulatory Law partner at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, and Alicia García-Franco, General Director of FER, spoke at the round table “Extended Producer Responsibility Systems”.
Santiago Garrido has analyzed the main changes that these systems imply after the publication of Law 7/2022, of April 8, on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy and, above all, Royal Decree 1055/2022, of December, of packaging and packaging waste.
For her part, Alicia García-Franco highlighted some of the SRAPs that were already operating before the advent of these regulations and pointed out that the current trend of greater harmonization and control cannot collide with old RES claims, such as, “no limit collection and management to areas where they are most profitable; not limit the continuity of management, even if the objectives have been met; that the financing of their voluntary actions may not collide with the activities of waste managers and the competition regulations will apply to them, that the principles of publicity, competition and equality are respected in the manager selection procedure, in order to guarantee free competition.”
Next, Pablo Collado, co-founder and CEO of IMeureka, and Julio Lorente, head of Legal Advice at FER, took part in the round table “The challenge of fire risk coverage”.
Lorente has verified that, at present, the situation is one of a closed market in the contracting or renewal of policies: “In 2017, the cancellations of policies began, in 2020, there were already widespread cancellations, and this year the situation is one of a closed market”.
Despite the numerous initiatives of FER to be able to offer its members the possibility of renewing or contracting new policies, at present, the legal adviser explained, “the most feasible is to contract through a marketplace”.
Pablo Collado explained the main advantages offered by the IMeureka marketplace: “Digitized Risk Management with control of information and claims; communication channel with the broker that will improve claims resolution times as well as any day-to-day management a day; Pseudonymized Aggregate Data, which will allow us to have crucial information for the study of profitability; Market proactivity in the search for risks that fit its appetite; latest technology for the optimization of AI insurance programs that detects gaps of coverage and insufficiency in limits by comparison of similar risks”.
The morning session of the congress concluded with a motivating presentation by the actor and comedian Leo Harlem.
The Spanish Federation for Recovery and Recycling was created in 1982 in order to bring together and defend the interests of companies dedicated to recycling waste in different economic, social and environmental fields. FER currently has 282 members and represents more than 435 waste management companies (ferrous and non-ferrous metals, electrical and electronic equipment, end-of-life tires, end-of-life vehicles, packaging or wood, among others). The federation represents 90% of the volume of the sector for the recovery of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as 60% of end-of-life tire recyclers. Within FER are also 80% of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treaters and 100% of the metal shredding industry in Spain. The recycling sector currently generates 30,000 direct and 105,000 indirect jobs in Spain.
FER is a corporate member of UNE (Spanish Association for Standardization) and is part of SIGRAUTO (Spanish Association for the Environmental Treatment of End-of-Life Vehicles), the Spanish Federation for Recycling and the Environment (FERMA), or the Spanish Confederation of Metal Business Organizations (CONFEMETAL). Internationally, it is a member of the World Recycling Council (BIR) and is part of its International Environmental Council, it is a member of the European Confederation of Recycling Industries (EuRIC) and its divisions of plastics (EPRB), textiles (EuRIC Textiles), tires (EuRIC MTR), ferrous metals (EFR) and non-ferrous metals (EUROMETREC). Likewise, it maintains contacts with CEOE and associations of recoverers of other materials such as paper and cardboard, wood, plastics and glass, with which it has created the Recovery Forum.
This FER press release was translated using Google Translate