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.