Expanding storage allowances is not the answer to the paper glut created by Chinas market withdrawal, the Independent Waste Paper Processors Association (IWPPA) has said.
Last week, the Environment Agency (EA) announced that more recyclates could be stored temporarily until there was some sign of market recovery.
But IWPPA chief executive David Symmers said: It is a mistake to store low grade material, particularly from households, which has an element of food contamination or moisture. This paper cant be stored outside because it deteriorates quickly and storing it inside is expensive.
Symmers explained that to store and move low grade material worth £10 a tonne it could cost up to £30 to £40 a tonne. This creates a loss and youll never sell it, he added. Symmers said that this did not necessarily apply to high grade paper.
He agreed with EA advice proffered last week that composting or energy-from-waste would be a better use for paper than landfilling it.
Symmers also said that storing paper could create future problems when the market did recover because material will flood the market and buyers wont be willing to pay higher prices.
Another paper industry source said that the Government had been aware that the UK was vulnerable to a global downturn. A previous Waste & Resources Action Programme report had highlighted the UKs over dependency on paper exports. The source said: Politicians have concentrated on recycling as recovery. Even though they pay lip service to looking at the full cycle, efforts always apply to the generation of material for recycling, and not what is going to be done with it.
Symmers said that UK paper infrastructure growth would help ease the situation. However, he said that the investment needed to provide enough domestic mills would cost £1 billion for every 1000 tonnes of extra production capacity.