This study was commissioned by the Swedish Chemical Agency and conducted by Ramboll Environment & Health. The study was initiated as part of an ongoing dialogue between the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environment Protection Agency regarding how to increase material recycling without recirculating substances of concern.
Recent discussions have focused on how to manage recycled material that may contain hazardous substances that are subject to new restrictions in the chemicals legislation.
The aim of this report was to (i) provide an overview of any exemptions made in chemicals legislations for substances of very high concern in recycled material, (ii) identify reasons and arguments for adopting such exemptions and (iii) examine to what extent the exemptions have been utilised by industry.
In the REACH Regulation, POPs Regulation and RoHS Directive, there are in a few cases exemptions of restricted substances in recycled materials. In this project, the arguments for adopting these exemptions and their impact on recycling have been analysed.
In conclusion, this analysis shows that both the procedures as such and the reasoning behind the adoption of the investigated exemptions vary considerably. The arguments for implementing the different exemptions include technical, economic, environmental, political and human health.