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As part of the European Union’s “circular economy” policy, EU officials want to expand the secondary raw materials market. The potential presence of chemicals of concern in recycled materials is seen as a potential barrier to the development of this market. Therefore, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is working to establish a new database on the presence of hazardous chemicals in articles by the end of 2019 to inform both waste treatment operators and consumers. The database will comprise information submitted by companies producing, importing or selling articles that contain Candidate List substances, meaning Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). Companies will need to submit this information by the end of 2020.
The legal basis for this database is the recently revised EU waste framework directive, which entered into force last July. It is part of the EU’s waste legislation package, aimed at contributing to the EU’s move towards a circular economy by improving the risk management of chemicals during waste recovery while promoting non-toxic material cycles. At the same time, this database will increase the pressure on industry to substitute substances of concern.
IPC’s Senior Director of Europe, Nicolas Robin, and the IPC 2-18b Committee are working closely with ECHA and the European Commission to convey IPC members’ concerns and ensure that new requirements do not create inappropriate reporting burdens for companies. The committee has provided a comprehensive response to ECHA’s recent public consultation on the topic. In addition, IPC is looking at how the widely-used standard, IPC-1752A, might be able to meet all of ECHA’s requirements for reporting into the new candidate list database, facilitating the uptake of existing declarations data, and making it easier to use the database.