The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has welcomed European Commission proposals for a landfill ban for recyclables, but has said the package does not go far enough.
Following the launch of the EU circular economy package Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe, CEPI welcomed the inclusion of landfill bans for recyclables by the Commission, but wants to see six key points addressed.
1. Still no ban on incineration of recyclable paper CEPI welcomes the fact that the Circular Economy Package includes a landfill ban for recyclables as of 2025, but regrets that incineration for the same materials is not banned. Despite the existing capacity for reprocessing paper in Europe up to 10 million tonnes of paper is currently being landfilled or incinerated in Europe.
2. Targets based on robust data and robust methods CEPI is concerned about the way the Commission sets new recycling targets and a new calculation method without having tested them on current recycling performances first. Recycling targets in Europe should not discriminate between competing materials and the level of ambition for recycling targets needs to be set realistically.
“The new recycling targets are based on the best performing EU member states although recycling rates from these states are not comparable. Current calculation methods for recycling vary between countries,” said CEPI recycling, product and environment director Jori Ringman,.
3. Collection targets The paper industry calls for EU-wide minimum collection targets for recyclable materials to support high recycling and re-use targets in Europe. As EU legislation already obliges EU member states to collect at least paper, metal, plastic and glass separately by 2015, collection targets would provide an incentive to fulfil this requirement and secure a constant supply of raw materials for the European economy.
4. Recycling based on proximity The Circular Economy Package should include a proximity principle to ensure that recycling will take place as close as possible to the consumption and collection points in Europe. This will enhance the circular economy by guaranteeing a faster recycling cycle and delivering more value with less input.
5. Recycling ‘Made in Europe’ To advance the circular economy, the definition of recycling in Europe needs to be revised. At the moment, the definition is vague and does not support good quality data collection nor reprocessing of materials.
6. A stronger focus on renewability In nature, circularity equals renewability. The European paper industry regrets that the Commission does not acknowledge renewability of materials as a solution for the circular economy.