Spain sets end-of-waste criteria for recovered fibre based on UNE-EN 643 standard

Spain paper manufacturing
Paper manufacturing in Spain

The Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO) in Spain has issued a Ministerial Decree that means recovered fibre can be considered end-of-waste if it meets UNE-EN 643 and other criteria.

Firstly, the material must meet and be classified as the UNE-EN 643 standard that means the content of non-paper components must be less than or equal to 1.5% by dry weight. To meet this criteria, qualified inspectors will need to use the EN 17085 sampling process for recovered paper and cardboard.


The material should also not show any of the hazardous characteristics, including inks and dyes, listed in Annex III of the Waste Framework Directive. Again, qualified personnel will need to carry out a visual inspection and where necessary sampling to confirm this.

Additionally, the cardboard and paper must not contain oils, solvents, paints, aqueous and/or greasy food remains that can be detected by visual inspection.

The decree states: “Paper and cardboard waste must:

  1. Have been separated at source and subsequently collected separately. This paper and cardboard waste must be stored separately from any other waste.
  2. Be subjected to all the necessary treatments to prepare the paper and cardboard for the manufacture of pulp. These treatments include initial classification and storage by type, separation of materials other than paper, cleaning, shredding or cutting (where appropriate) and final pressing and baling. Finally, said bales or bales will be stored according to the qualities established by the UNE-EN 643 standard, in order to be sent to the paper and pulp mills.

The decree contains a Declaration of Conformity that allows producers or importers for each consignment of recovered paper and cardboard to determine that it meets the criteria to be considered an end-of-waste product.

Spanish Association of Pulp, Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers (ASPAPEL) recycling and logistics director David Barrio said: “We welcome this new legal figure, in the belief that it is a great opportunity for the entire chain of paper and cardboard recycling as a whole, as it will help guarantee the quality of this material, reduce the bureaucratic burden and eliminate barriers to the free movement of this raw material.”

The Ministerial Decree including all of the criteria and the Declaration of Conformity can be found here (in Spanish).

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