Banning harmful chemicals: new rules on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in waste to enter into force
On 29 December, the new Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) will enter into force, providing a legally binding obligation to protect human health and the environment from some of the most harmful chemicals in waste. Although POPs are generally no longer used in new products, they are still found in waste resulting from disposal of some industrial and consumer products after the end of their service life.
The new Regulation introduces, for the first time, limits for some of these chemicals in waste and tightens them for others which were already regulated. Existing limits have been tightened for five substances and new limits have been agreed for four new substances that can be found for example in waterproof textiles and fire-fighting foams, in treated wood and others. Limiting the presence of these chemicals in waste will prevent them from re-entering the economy.
The new rules send a powerful message about the commitment of the EU to deal with POPs in waste, and to lead the way towards a toxic-free environment internationally. Most of the provisions in the Regulation will apply 6 months after its entry into force on 29 December.
By helping boost the supply of safe, toxic-free secondary raw materials, the Regulation also plays an important role in meeting the objectives of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.