An unstoppable crisis is occurring in the Italian recovered paper sector, according to the country’s waste paper trade association Unirima.
It has warned that an excess of supply and low prices is bringing plant operators “to their knees”.
It noted that the prices of cardboard has fallen by 75% between January and October 2019 to record lows.
Unirima said in a statement: “This difficulty is due to the fact, especially in Italy, that there has been a substantial increase in the quantity of paper coming from different collection sources, in line with European directives, but this has not been followed by an equal increase in the capacity of paper mills.”
It added that the increase in volumes of paper collected had generally been absorbed by exports to China and other Asian countries. But with China recently reducing import quotas and developing its own circular economy, there was not enough capacity for Italian recovered paper.
This had also been made worse by unfavourable global economic conditions.
Unirima warned that the current crisis could soon lead to the suspension of collections of paper for recycling. While it was trying to find a solution to the problem, no concrete initiatives had been found as yet.
This pattern has been seen in many countries, with UK recovered fibre prices also dropping to recent lows.