Recycling

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30 Aug.2018 ,

Single-use plastics – paper industry shares MEPs’ perplexity on ill-defined “catch-all” product scope

The European Commission’s proposal on single use plastics products (SUPP), aims at addressing the marine pollution caused by the most littered plastics products. Yet an ill-defined product scope, open for interpretation, could consider any material using any sort of plastics layer or coating as plastics, whether the materials is in contact with food or for other functionalities.

During their first discussion on the SUPP proposal, members of the Environment committee of the European Parliament have expressed their perplexity regarding its definition and scope. The rapporteur Frédérique Ries stated that the Commission’s proposal is indeed too vague and open for interpretation.

Her colleague and shadow rapporteur Massimo Paolucci also questioned definitions and the lack of emphasis on recyclability. Mark Demesmaeker, also shadow rapporteur, even wondered whether cardboard boxes with plastic coatings should be also considered as plastic. Similarly the European Commission also admitted there is a grey area and that definitions should be improved.

Reacting to the debates, CEPI urges a clear and clean-cut definition to avoid other materials being inadvertently classified as plastics and an implementation chaos. “Leaving the text wide-open for interpretation with ill-thought definitions will lead to implementation chaos, not least for the SUP but also for the entire Packaging Waste Directive and products classification on the market” say Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of CEPI. The Directive is aimed at, and should therefore be focused on, the single-use plastics products most present in the marine environment.”

Paper packaging is not just recyclable but massively recycled, at a rate of 84.6% (Eurostat 2016), far and beyond any other material. It also does not show up amongst most littered application found on European beaches according the European Environment Agency surveys. There is no rational to mix-up the scope and cover other materials.

Note to editor: CEPI is the pan-European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry. Through its 18 national associations CEPI gathers 495 companies operating more than 900 pulp and paper mills across Europe producing paper, cardboard, pulp and other bio-based products. 84.6% of paper-based packaging is recycled in the EU and this level will further rise with the new packaging and packaging waste directive. Coated or not with plastics, paper-based packaging are recyclable and recycled.

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29 Mar.2018 ,

European paper industry stands ready to defend Circular Economy in the context of Chinese waste import ban

CEPI, the European association representing the paper industy has been closely monitoring market developments in reaction to the material waste import ban by the Chinese authorities including paper for recycling.

The import restrictions have caused disruption to the European markets and the countries where paper collection is comingled have been the first to be hit. This comingling practice raises the risk of contamination from other materials which can reduce the quality of paper for recycling and technically impede the recycling process.

The European paper industry is making investments and will continue to do so over the coming years in new paper recycling capacities which ensure that high quality paper for recycling remains in Europe. A core component to achieving more recycling in Europe will be to upscale our efforts on implementing European standards on the quality of paper for recycling (EN 643) and the collection of paper seperately from other recyclables.

It is estimated that less than 5% of paper collected in Europe has been directly impacted by the Chinese import waste ban. It nonetheless provides the industry with the impetus to drive forward quality paper for recycling which is effectively recycled in Europe. It is equally an indication that comingled collection systems are no longer sustainable both from an environmental and market perspective in the future.

Note to editor:

CEPI is the European association representing the paper industry at EU level. European paper recycling paper has been a success story with 72.5% of all paper in Europe collected for recycling while 83% (50 milion tonnes) of this recycling is made in European paper mills. Together with 14 other European associations in the paper recycling value chain we are committed to reaching a 74% recycling rate by 2020. Through our participation in the EU-funded project ImpactPapeRec and other means we are proactively seeking means to improve best practices on separate collection across Europe.

Our full statement can be consulted here.

For general enquiries, please contact Ulrich Leberle, CEPI Raw Materials Director at u.leberle@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 23

For press-related enquiries please contact Ben Kennard, CEPI Communications and Media Manaager at b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82

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15 Mar.2018 ,

European Paper Recycling Council moves forward on ecodesign of printed paper products

An update has been made to the European Paper Recycling Council’s (EPRC) “Assessment of Printed Product Recyclability”.
This Scorecard for the Removability of Adhesive Applications now includes an annex for applications where there is sufficient experience and confidence that they will deliver good results on removability.

Non-water-soluble or non-dispersible hot melt adhesives are now exempted from testing under certain conditions. If an adhesive application does not conform to with the conditions in this annex, no conclusion can be made about its removability.

The EPRC considers this a step forward towards improving ecodesign, prolonging the recycling loop for printed graphic paper.

The updated scorecard can be found here.

For further information, please contact Ulrich Leberle at u.leberle@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 23

For press-related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard at b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82

Note to editor:
The European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) was set up as an industry self-initiative in November 2000 to monitor progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling. Since then the commitments in the Declaration are renewed every five years. In 2017 the EPRC committed itself to meeting and maintaining both a voluntary recycling rate target of 74% in the EU27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2020 as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign and research and development. In 2017, Members of the ERPC are ACE, CEPI, CITPA, EMFA, ETS, FEPE, INGEDE and INTERGRAF. Supporters are Afera, EuPIA, FINAT and RadTECH Europe. FEICA, the Association of the European Adhesive and Sealant Industry also recently joined the EPRC as a supporter. DG Environment and DG Grow of the European Commission are permanent observers to the EPRC.

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01 Feb.2018

EPRC Monitoring report 2016

Since 2000, the European paper value chain has been committed to the two-fold aim of increasing recycling and joining efforts to remove obstacles hampering paper recycling in Europe. The signatories of the new European Declaration on Paper Recycling have declared their commitment to reach 74% paper recycling by 2020.

In 2016, 72.5% of all paper consumed in Europe was recycled. Relative to 2015, the collection of paper for recycling increased by 0.9%, reaching 59.5 million tonnes. In parallel, paper
consumption slightly decreased, totalling 82.1 million tonnes. These two factors drove a considerable increase in the recycling rate: from 71.9% in 2015 to 72.5% in 2016.
Significantly, this means collection and recycling of paper has increased by 0.5 million tonnes compared to the base year of the Declaration (2015).
Clearly, an important step has already been taken towards reaching the 2020 target of 74% paper recycling. However, we are now fast approaching our maximum potential, since 22% of paper consumption can neither be collected nor recycled.

Changing consumption patterns are affecting the most recycled paper products. Newspaper consumption continued to decline in 2016. Increased consumption of corrugated boxes, the other most recycled paper product, is only partly compensating the challenge to the overall recycling rate of declining graphic (printing and writing) paper consumption. For the commitment period 2016 to 2020, recycling rate calculations have been independently verified by Deloitte. 2016 also features positive achievements at regional level.

The number of countries with a recycling rate below 60% has further dropped to nine. Equally, 17 countries now have recycling rates exceeding 70%, an increase of three, since 2015. On an international level, Europe continues to be the world champion in paper recycling, followed by North America. Other world regions’ paper recycling rates are improving, but coming from lower levels. In Europe, paper fibres are recycled 3.6 times on average, significantly outperforming the world average of 2.4 times.

While the EU is discussing how to transition to a circular economy, the paper fibre loop can serve as a model for circularity. Paper recycling is an industry ‘Made in Europe’. It prolongs value creation and creates job opportunities in Europe from a renewable, predominantly European resource, wood.

Driving year-on-year improvements in the ease and simplicity of recycling requires a huge effort from the paper value chain. This report details these continuing efforts, underlining the pride in the progress the EPRC has made.

CEPI is one of the signatories of the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) and holds its secretariat.

Read the press release on the EPRC website.

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29 Jan.2018

IMPACTPapeRec project sends strong Circular Economy message on separate collection of paper at final conference

The two-year Horizon 2020 IMPACTPapeRec project is reaching its final stages this month. To this end, a final conference was organised at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 24 January, hosted by Mayor of Coulaines (France), Christophe Rouillon. The conference successfully brought together more than eighty professionals from the waste management and paper industry, as well as policymakers and municipalities.


It included prominent speakers such as Kestutis Sadauskas, the Director in charge of Circular Economy and Green Growth at the European Commission, as well as Laurent Thieule, Director at the Committee of the Regions, who applauded the project’s practical nature and its “on the ground” applicability for European regions.
The project brought together nineteen partners across the value chain from several European countries including those with low recycling rates such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. The project offered them a unique platform to find ways to increase separate collection of paper in the EU. “This project could not be more timely, as the inter-institutional agreement on the revision of the waste package last December has indeed strengthened separate collection” said Kestutis Sadauskas, adding that “separate collection for high quality recycling is particularly important in light of China’s waste import ban”.


Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) closed the conference by focusing on the project’s major policy recommendations. He highlighted the Commission’s detailed Guidance on the newly strengthened rules on separate collection in the Waste Directive and the need for collection systems to take into account the EN 643 standard. “In the fight against climate change, we only have a window of a few years to optimise waste management and recycling everywhere in Europe” he noted.


Several participants applauded the practical tools that resulted from the project, in particular the “Good and Best Practices Handbook for the collection of paper and board for recycling”. This handbook provides municipalities with practical tools and guidance so that they can improve paper and board collection wherever they are in Europe. A video was prepared explaining this and other tools  which can be found on the website.

The final conference was followed by a workshop specifically targeted at municipalities, companies and citizens from countries that were not part of the project. Another workshop for entrepreneurs was also organised to encourage new innovative business ventures in the implementation of innovative solutions for paper collection.

The IMPACTPapeRec project is financed by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme and supports the separate collection of paper commitment of the European Innovation Platform (EIP) on Raw Materials. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690182.

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