With Northern Ireland (NI) looking to recycle 70% of its paper waste by 2008 and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) collecting 821,903 tonnes in 2004, both nations were intent on exploring the possibilities.
A feasibility study was funded jointly by the Department of the Environment (DOE) in NI through the Waste and Resources Action Programme and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in ROI.
While a significant amount of recovered paper is currently exported, it found that sufficient quantity and quality of supply could be sourced locally and would make a tissue mill with capacity of approximately 40,000 tonnes per annum financially viable.
DOE minister David Cairns said: I welcome the publication of the study on the feasibility of an all island paper mill. The study provides valuable research and information for businesses interested in investing in this field.
I hope that the report will help pave the way for the possibility of greater paper recycling through increased efficiency and added market value on the island of Ireland.
Paper and paperboard are major components of the municipal waste stream and both countries are increasing recovery rates through the introduction of kerbside collection schemes and growing commercial initiatives.
ROI Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Dick Roche described the study as an excellent example of co-operation between the two nations. He said: The potential for additional reprocessing capacity should be explored and evaluated. This study will provide an excellent basis for going forward. It provides invaluable analysis and data for this industrial sector.
What we are trying to achieve here is very much in line with the brief given to the Market Development Group to explore ways in which stable markets and possibilities for reprocessing recyclable material can be identified and developed.
The full report can be viewed at www.wrap.org.uk.