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Paul Sanderson's Friday blog

Date: 13/09/2013 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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In our lead story today, Resource Efficient Business reveals that Member States of the European Council have failed to agree to criteria on end-of-waste for paper.

On the surface, this seems like it might be a good thing, but it really isn't.

As a result of the Member States failing to get a qualified majority either in favour or against, this means the responsibility now passes to the European Parliament to have a vote on the issue and give its opinion, before the proposal going back to the European Commission to either accept it as it is or re-work these daft proposals. 

The problem with the proposed criteria is that the European Commission has proposed end-of-waste being given at the point of collection, rather than at the point of reprocessing. If you have ever seen bales of paper, then you will know that the collection process doesn't always lead to nice clean loads, and that contamination remains a massive issue. 

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) in the UK want the criteria to be changed to meet the needs of the reprocessors of paper. Indeed, CPI director general David Workman has written to Defra Minister Lord de Mauley asking him to use his influence to get the criteria changed and instead work towards quality standards.

As a time when the European Commission via the Environment Directorate, is making a huge deal about resource efficiency, it seems very strange that the European Commission is proposing criteria that puts the success of European paper recycling at risk.

But as CEPI points out, a recycling rate of 71.2 per cent in Europe is an amazing success story, and this should be celebrated, and not put in jeopardy.

End-of-waste criteria for paper could be a good thing, enabling high quality standards across Europe, and I know the majority of both domestic and export companies in the paper market are united in the need for higher quality. But by putting the end-of-waste assessment at the collection point, the European Commission has made a huge mistake that it must correct.



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