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Battle erupts between paper and plastic industries over study

A war of words has broken out between the paper industry and Plastics Europe - the association of plastics manufacturers.

In April, Plastics Europe released the results of a study that suggested that substituting plastics where possible with more traditional materials would jeopardise the Kyoto targets of the first fifteen members of the European Union.

It said that using these materials would require additional energy equivalent to 22.4 million tons of crude oil per year and result in additional greenhouse gas emissions of around 97 million tons. This is equivalent to 30% of the EU-15's Kyoto target in the period 2000-2010.

But the paper industry has gone ballistic. In a joint statement, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Confederation of Paper Board Converters (CITPA) said: "We strongly refute this statement with regard to paper and paper packaging products. The use of paper and paper packaging products actively contributes to the reduction of climate change.

"The study does not consider the renewable and recyclable properties of paper, its place in the carbon cycle, or the production methods employed in the paper industry, which is one of the biggest users and producers of renewable energy sources in Europe."

It added that both organisations believe that the study is flawed in its scope, some of its basic assumptions and its use of comparable data.

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