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EU Accord: Cosmetics companies to cover 80 percent of wastewater costs

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Waste water Credits: Pexels

A new EU agreement in Brussels has mandated that the cosmetics industry bears a minimum of 80 percent of expenses related to treating harmful substances in urban wastewater.

Stemming from the European Commission's 2022 proposal, which identified the beauty and pharmaceutical sectors as responsible for 92 percent of toxic discharges, the EU bill on Urban Wastewater Treatment signifies a pivotal change in wastewater management.

Operating under the 'polluter pays' principle, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requires these industries to fund extra quaternary treatment, heralding a paradigm shift in EU environmental regulation. The directive sets targets for large treatment plants, Euronews reported, serving 150,000 or more people, to implement quaternary treatment by 2045, with intermediate goals for 2033 and 2039.

The agreement seeks to establish stringent standards for treating urban wastewater, preventing the release of harmful substances like microplastics and PFAS into the environment. Polluting industries must cover a minimum of 80 percent of the costs, supplemented by national financing to alleviate impacts on medicine availability and affordability, Euronews said.

Pending formal approval by the Parliament and Council, the agreement awaits enactment into law.

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