The Recycling Association has welcomed the publication by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) of its revised guidelines on Paper for Recycling quality control.
These guidelines contain recommendations for Paper for Recycling Suppliers and paper mills.
But The Recycling Association believes that the entire supply chain must also play its part to ensure quality levels are raised.
The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “It is great to see CEPI revising its guidelines to improve the inspection procedure at mills and to decide whether a load should be accepted or rejected.
“We also welcome the focus on bale condition and control of unwanted materials.
“Our members are already providing high quality fibre to paper mills in UK, Europe and around the world, and are meeting the guidelines set out by CEPI and the EN 643 Standard.
“But The Recycling Association would argue that paper mills must also be aware that recyclers are having to work with a supply chain that does not always provide the highest quality material.
“Our members work with suppliers who provide bales that are of excellent quality and are welcomed by them, but there are also a significant number of companies and organisations that are trading material that is poor and in some cases illegal.
“The Recycling Association is committed to improving quality, and wants to see the UK’s environment agencies focus on illegal exporters which deliberately flout the system, while we also need to work with local authorities and other suppliers to bring overall quality up.
“That way, we can ensure that the paper recycling industry is recognised for being the resource industry it is, as part of the international circular economy.”
Simon Ellin is speaking at this conference on 12 April 2016. Find out more here
The EN 643 Standard calls for a 1.5% maximum level of contamination from non-target materials.
CEPI also outlined in the new guidance that bales with less than 10% moisture should be accepted.
Above 10%, this would be for the buyer and seller to agree on a maximum tolerance, but the buyer should reject bales that exceed this agreement.
The Recycling Association disagrees with this stance.
Simon Ellin added: “Firstly, the generally accepted moisture tolerance that is applied for material from the UK is 12% and not 10% – this includes a small margin for error. Secondly, buyers for UK material recognise that particularly in winter months, material may exceed ideal moisture limits.
“But these buyers make a commercial decision as to whether they want the material or not.
“If you impose strict limits on maximum moisture levels, it may well prevent material leaving these shores as suppliers will not want to risk massive demurrage charges from Europe or Asia. This will have the effect of forcing UK prices down.
“Moisture is not illegal as long as it does not prohibit a product’s recyclability. Any subsequent commercial decision is then between the buyer and the seller. If the buyer doesn’t like it, they don’t buy it!”