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CEPI joins World Economic Forum in circular economy pilot

The European trade body for the paper sector is joining a pilot on circular economy business models launched by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The initiative carried out by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) aims at producing eco-design rules that can be applied across the paper and board value chain.

Jori Ringman, sustainability director at CEPI, noted that while paper itself was 100% recyclable materials added to it in the manufacturing process, such as tapes, adhesives and printing inks, made recovery more difficult.

“Simple eco-design rules for paper products would give the essential guidance for designers and developers without limiting innovation and hampering the introduction of new techniques,” he said.

The project will start in January 2015 and run for 12 months.

“Paper is a perfect place to start, given paper’s currently high recycling rate and complete infrastructure for recycling,” said Johnson Yeh, head of circular economy initiatives at the World Economic Forum.

“By establishing proof-of-concept with eco-design rules for paper, the same lesson can be applied to other materials.”

The initiative is part of the WEF’s Project MainStream, which was launched in January 2014 in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the consultancy McKinsey & Company.

The project aims at bringing together players across business, research communities, policy-makers and investors to realise the potential of switching to more circular business models.

According to the WEF, there is a strong case for switching to a circular economy, with global economic gains from materials savings estimated at over a trillion dollars a year.

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