Sustainability Blog

22.02.2022, Twosday to Tackle Trash

By Apurva Gosalia - Feb 22, 2022

It is tempting to believe that the sound of the word Tuesday has something to do with it being the second day of the week – “twos day.” In fact, it derives from the Old English word for the day of Tiw, the Norse god of single combat and justice.

Today, however, Tuesday is actually a very rare “twosday,” being the second day of the week in the second month of the year. And this twosday is even more special in that it’s in the 22nd year of the century. If that wasn’t enough, it’s a palindrome date, reading the same backward as it does forward – 22.02.2022. Sadly, this amusement is not fully shared by our American colleagues (02.22.2022).

Is there any connection with twosday and sustainability and the lubricant industry, you no doubt have asked yourselves by now. Of course! Today is the last open day for feedback on the call for evidence regarding the revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD). The WFD sets out the basic concepts and definitions related to waste management, including definitions of waste, recycling and recovery.

Despite existing legislation, municipal waste generation has increased over the past decade. Exacerbated by low recycling rates and lower-quality recyclates, in part due to inefficient waste-collection systems. 

For some specific waste streams, such as used oil, the evidence suggests that the polluter pays principle is often not fully implemented and that some waste may be illegally disposed of, leading to pollution. Therefore, the European Commission is currently working on a targeted revision of the WFD until the end of 2023. This revision aims to improve the overall environmental outcome of waste management in line with the waste hierarchy and the implementation of the polluter pays principle, potentially via extended producer responsibility schemes. The revision will focus on four policy areas, including waste oils.

The outcome of this targeted revision will have a direct influence on the lubricant industry’s refinery landscape. Thoughts are circled around a quota for recycling of used oils between 60% and 80%, with the consequence being an additional disruption to virgin base oil refiners’ business. In addition, rerefining capacities will have to be adjusted to the new technical needs and requirements. According to GEIR, the European rerefining association, there is about 1.2 million metric tons of base oil rerefining capacity in Europe. 

The feedback period on the call for evidence was set by the European Commission from January 25 until February 22, 2022, making today a target “Tuesday tackling trash.” 

A broader set of consultations, including an open public consultation, is planned in the first half of 2022 to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are given an opportunity to express their views on the current performance of the WFD and how it could be improved. The main stakeholders are national authorities, producers, waste collectors and recyclers, households and businesses, NGOs and scientific experts.

Time will tell, whether retrospectively this Tuesday will be remembered not only for the cosmic significance regarding its palindrome date, but also as another important milestone on the way to more sustainability in Europe and beyond, alongside the principles laid down in the European Green Deal, et al.


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