Exploring the interface between chemicals and circular economy

LLM Joonas Alaranta defended his Doctoral thesis “Chemicals and the circular economy A study on the management of substances of very high concern and the circular economy by the REACH regulation” at the University of Eastern Finland on Friday 27 April. IES professor Harri Kalimo acted as the opponent in the defence, commending the work as a very topical piece of scholarship. The work of Alaranta shows amongst other things that the requirements of REACH set administrative requirements and costs on the resource flows of a circular economy. Alaranta argues that such barriers could be reduced without jeopardizing a safe flow of materials. On the other hand he also claims that the current chemicals legislation contains gaps that allow risk-causing substances to end up as recovered materials. The effectiveness and efficiency of the rules could be improved by a model of chemicals risk assessment that takes better into account the difference between the chemical hazards and actual risks, compares the costs and benefits, as well as considers the eventual  counter-risks. The wealth of data collected through REACH can also be made great use of in assessing the environmental and health risks of by-products and end-of-waste material. Lightening the REACH registration requirements for by-products seems also recommendable. 

Picture Taken by Oskari Korhonen