"Ambitious" paper recycling targets announced

European paper industry pledges to raise recycling to 56% by 2005, increase resource efficiency

The European paper industry, including recovered paper collectors and merchants, yesterday committed to recycle 56% of all paper and board used in 17 European countries by 2005.

In a unilateral "declaration," the Confederation of European paper industries (Cepi) and the European recovered paper association (Erpa) also pledged to reduce waste generation during all processes in the paper and board lifecycle, and keep the door open for developing voluntary agreements with the EU.

They would also strive to boost efficiency of the use of raw and auxiliary materials and share expertise with firms collecting recovered paper material to "optimise" collection systems, their joint statement said. Esa Hyvarinen of Cepi said this was the first time a collective recycling target had been set by the two organisations.

European paper recycling reached almost 49% in 1999, when the industry used just over 38m tonnes of recovered paper and board (ENDS Daily 11 September). With consumption of paper and board expected to increase by 3% per year, the 56% target means that recycling will have to increase by 25%, or 10m tonnes, by 2005, Mr Hyvarinen said.

The target is for Europe rather than for individual countries, Cepi stresses, due to wide geographical variations. For instance, Mr Hyvarinen said, in 1999, Germany collected 70% of paper waste and recycled 57%, while Ireland only managed to collect 20%.

Mr Hyvarinen added that Cepi and Erpa had spent "years" developing the declaration, hoping it would serve as a base for a voluntary agreement with the EU (ENDS Daily 19 November 1998). The associations had decided to make a public commitment when it became clear that the Commission proposals had yet to be finalised.

Follow Up:
Cepi, tel: +32 2 627 4911, and press release; Erpa, tel: +32 2 627 5773.

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