08 Jul.2013 ,

When being stingy became a competitive advantage

​Republished blog originally by Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa from UPM:

Natural resources are drying up all around the world as the population grows and standards of living improve. By 2030, there will be an additional three billion more consumers with a solid financial standing in the world.

The increased level of consumption gives rise to global concerns: climate change, decreased biodiversity, lack of clean water and rising prices of raw materials. The pressure to protect both renewable and fossil natural resources is increasing.
We all face these challenges together: individuals, companies, authorities and non-governmental organisations.

We should use natural resources sparingly to ensure that future generations will be able to live in a more sustainable world.
Using raw materials sparingly, or resource efficiency, has been discussed by leading enterprises of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and it is one of the flagship projects of EU's Europe 2020 strategy. The EU requires that its member states recycle, implement a vision to stop waste and introduce smart technologies.

The industrial policy of the future has reached a crossroads: will we achieve the resource efficiency and technological innovations by adopting stricter regulations, or should we promote them by introducing incentives? A workgroup that has drafted the Finnish vision for 2030 focusing on the sparing use of resources believes that regulation is the key. At the same time there is strong evidence from other parts of the world that taking the completely opposite approach works just as well: South Korea supports the development of green technology by means of major national investments.

Being stingy is not just about living sparingly: in the corporate world, it is also a competitive advantage. Large integrated industrial facilities improve their use of energy and raw materials by combining the know-how of various top experts – which is an important competitive advantage. Materials are the main cost item for industrial companies, which means that they tend to pay attention to how they use their raw materials.

By-products of lable is the raw material for ProFi deck.

For example, the forestry industry sees today's by-products and waste as tomorrow's raw materials. Materials that end their life in landfill usually amount to less than one percent of all the raw materials originally arriving at a mill. This approach has also led to innovations involving the replacement of non-renewable materials with renewable ones. Resource-efficient innovations have also been developed in the fields of logistics, technology and production.


UPM ProFi deck's wood-plastic composites are based on recycled material.

In the future, you will be able to choose which you want to use: products manufactured from fossil, renewable or recycled materials. Recycled materials are preferred by many, but products cannot be created based on recycling alone. For example, you can only recycle a newspaper seven times before you will need to use new fibres.
So how can Finland support the progressive industrial policy? The best approach from an industrial viewpoint is to encourage people to use both renewable and recyclable materials. We can create incentives for small companies, reduce the level of bureaucracy, reward businesses for green, responsible and transparent operations and allow them to engage in business more sensibly. Pioneers understand how important resource efficiency is, because common sense dictates that using resources based on the company's own means is the best way to cut costs.

Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa, VP, Environmental Affairs, UPM
Chairperson of the European Resource Efficiency Platform
World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Liaison Delegate

The article has been published in the Finnish magazine Suomen Kuvalehti on 20 June 2013.

Originally published by UPM on UPM blog:

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12 Jun.2013

Spanish Municipalities pledge support for recycling ‘made in Europe’

The declared commitment of Fuenlabrada town council and of the Association of Municipalities of the Costa del Sol are two good examples to demonstrate that the recent amendment to the Spanish Waste Act, which promotes recycling ‘made in Europe’, is beginning to bear fruit.

Fuenlabrada town council has recently unanimously approved a proposal in which it commits to recycling ‘made in Europe’ and pledges that all the paper and board collected in the town will be recycled in Spanish or European paper mills. Fuenlabrada, with a population of over 200,000, is one of the largest towns in the Greater Madrid area and also has one of the youngest populations of all Spanish cities.

On a similar note, the Association of Municipalities of the Western Costa del Sol has included a pioneer requirement in its new contract for paper and board collection services that the concessionaire delivers all waste paper and board it collects to a paper mill within the European Union and also submits supporting documents to guarantee traceability of that waste. The Association provides services such as separate paper and board collection to almost 460,000 inhabitants in the province of Malaga. It groups eleven town councils from the Costa del Sol, including resorts such as Marbella, Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmadena, Mijas, Estepona...

The possibility of prioritising recycling within the European Union was set down for the first time in Spanish legislation for town councils through the 2011 Waste Act, and in November 2012, an amendment was included in the Law that extends the possibility of championing recycling ‘made in Europe’ to all producers or initial holders of recyclable waste.

Currently in Spain, any large retailer, bank, hotel chain, service company, municipal council... can legally require that the final recycling of its waste materials be carried out in European paper mills. This new legislation shields ‘made in Europe’ recycling and affords Spanish generators the ability to decide on the final destination of their waste.

By developing a European recycling society through such initiatives, the EU Commission estimates that over 400,000 jobs would be created in Europe by 2020.

Six good reasons for prioritising end recycling of waste within the European Union:
1. Enhancement of the European recycling industry.
2. Creation of green employment in Europe.
3. Reduction of emissions associated with transporting waste.
4. Guarantee that recycling meets European environmental requirements.
5. Creation of wealth in the same place as the effort and investment to recover waste have been made.
6. Improved transparency and control in the recycling process, which will lead to greater consumer confidence.

What the Waste Act says:
Article 16.3: "With respect to waste that is elegible for recycling, public administrations may articulate mechanisms on a temporary basis to give priority to recycling within the European Union, when justified for environmental reasons."

New additional provision nº 16: “Producers or other initial holders of recyclable waste materials may give priority to it being treated completely within the European Union in order to avoid the environmental impact of its transport out of the Union, in accordance with the applicable regulations."


ASPAPEL Press Office
Tel.: +34 91 561 68 26
Ángeles Álvarez
Marta Cerceño


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04 Jun.2013

Less than a month left to apply for the European Paper Recycling Award!

The fourth edition of the European Paper Recycling awards is well underway, with less than a month left before the application deadline (28 June 2013). We would like to remind you that the award is open to all organisations based in Europe: regional and national authorities, NGOs, associations but also schools, universities and companies.

If you think you have an innovative project or campaign (or if you have heard of one) that could challenge for the award, don’t wait any longer: get your efforts recognised! Register the project at The winner will also receive an original piece of paper artwork at the awards ceremony which will take place on 2 October at the European Parliament in Brussels. Travel costs to the ceremony will be covered for the winner.

Have a look at the members of the jury and our frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions about the award, please send an email to

We are looking forward to receiving more entries!



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03 Jun.2013

Simple paper recycling rules from the ERPC

Have you ever held a plastic spiral notebook or a used pizza box and wondered if it should go in the recycling bin? Did a windowed envelope end up in your waste bin because you didn’t have time to cut the window out, thinking that it should be removed? The European Paper Recovery Council (ERPC) recently published a poster with nine simple rules for paper recycling, which answers the above questions and more.

This campaign targets offices in particular, where paper can make up 90% of the waste generated. Often half the amount of paper an employee uses a year ends up as waste rather than being recycled. By diverting paper products from landfill and incineration, carbon is saved, and the life of fibres is extended over multiple life cycles.

The rules are simple and can make a big difference if applied. Even though currently every year 70% of all used paper in the EU is recycled, about 10 million tonnes of paper are still potentially available for recycling, enough to fill 100 football stadiums! There are many reasons for this, but one of them is ignorance as to how paper for recycling should be collected.

For example, many do not know that paper should not be shredded, as fibres are damaged, adding an unnecessary cost. There is no need to remove staples, paper clips etc from paper as the recycling processes are designed to remove them. You didn’t know about this either? Now you do! So next time you have doubts on whether or not a piece of paper is recyclable or not, just take a look at these 9 rules and act accordingly. You will participate in the creation of a more sustainable world.

For more information, please contact the ERPC Secretariat, Jori Ringman-Beck, at +32 2 627 49 19, or visit


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