December 3, 2015
The EU’s guidance on the trade agreement says it “will not compromise on safety standards”, which a recycling expert says may encourage the USA to streamline the EU’s regulations into “leaner, more focused laws”.
Scott Butler, Regional Director of the European Recycling Platform, wrote in Resource magazine that the European Commission’s ‘Inside TTIP’ (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership) guide’s desire to “foster the use of global standards” could see the EU’s “complex web of producer responsibility legislation […] exported to the United States and help to foster a more coordinated, federal approach there”.
Butler said in turn that that the US “may have been more effective” in introducing standards that cover the whole lifestyle of a product from design through to end-of-life management with EPEAT, which has become “one of the most prevalent quality labels in the United States”.
The UK and others, meanwhile, have been “sluggish” in implementing the WEEE Label of Excellence (WEEELabex), which Butler calls “a potential EPEAT equivalent”. He said that this [WEEE] example of consumer and local government-led pressure on producers to “manufaccture environmentally- friendly products and services” may act as a “highly effective foil” should TTIP fail to deliver the adoption of the EU’s “global standards”.
Butler also expressed his hope that TTIP will be in agreement with and support the EU’s new circular economy package. He added: “We have a unique chance to design and build a circular economy that will promote environmental and consumer protection, global competitiveness, investment and innovation.
“Personally, I will be keeping a close eye on TTIP to ensure that its goals are the same.”
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