The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has voiced its concerns over end-of-waste criteria for paper proposed by the European Commission, which it believes are too lax.
The organisation staged a protest displaying several bales of paper in front of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels on 11 September.
The EC has put forward criteria determining when recovered paper ceases to be waste. Under the proposed regulations, recovered paper meeting those criteria would no longer be considered waste but a product and could therefore move more freely along the supply chain as it would not be subjected to waste transfer regulations.
CEPI argued that the proposed criteria would allow contaminated recovered paper to be defined as ‘recycled paper’.
“The amount of impurities in the output of end-of-waste would be 15,000 times higher than they are at this moment,” said the CEPI. “Annually this will mean 1 million tonnes of impurities such as plastic bags allowed by the Commission in Europe.”
The organisation also highlighted that recovered paper that was no longer considered waste could be shipped to countries outside of Europe without being subjected to waste regulations.
“With this proposal, the European Commission will be exporting pollution to the poor and importing unemployment to Europe,” said Jori Ringman, CEPI recycling and environment director.
“It all works against the idea of the EU becoming a resource efficient recycling society as well as against the re-industrialisation of Europe.”
Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) supports CEPI’s position. In August CPI director general, David Workman, wrote to Lord de Mauley at Defra to urge him to influence the current Commission proposal and work towards end-of-waste criteria that guarantee the quality standards required by the paper reprocessor are met.
The CPI said: “The revised Waste Framework Directive declares that materials for recycling have “to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors” whilst the current Commission proposal would define waste management companies as “recycling sectors”. In other words, the quality standards would be set by the collectors and sorters, not the paper mills actually using the material. The paper industry would have no say about quality specifications if this proposal is accepted.”