The European pulp and paper industryproduces original bio-based products using wood, a renewable material, and paper for recycling. It is also the biggest single industrial user and producer of renewable energy in the EU: 56% of the industry’s total primary annual energy consumption is biomass-based (see page 50). And the industry has the potential to do even more in the future. It has the experience, technology and supply chain to play a big part in the bioeconomy and to do so in a resource-efficient manner.
The development of the bioeconomy has resulted in the first of a number of new bio-products that include water-repellent fabrics, smart packaging, second generation biofuels and futuristic concept cars made fully of cellulose-based material. With its traditional and new products, the paper industry plays an important role in society, offering efficiently manufactured, fully recyclable products, made from renewable raw materials. The main families of paper products include packaging grades, graphic paper grades, tissue paper and speciality papers.In addition to these paper products, the industry is increasingly producing high value-added products and sophisticated materials for the textile, food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as bio-based fuels and chemicals.
The graph shows that newspaper consumption is in sharp decline, on the other hand sanitary and household as well as case materials have done fairly well in a crisis driven environment. The former have increased by more than 3% in the last 5 years.
The European pulp and paper industry delivers sustainable product solutions.
Product Enviornmental Footprint
The European Commission is developing scope and methodologies for product environmental footprint (PEF) in policymaking. It aims particularly at resource efficiency and to resolve the disparity of different methods for measuring environmental performance.
The Commission has launched a three-year pilot on product rules, based on PEF. CEPI sees the benefits of having product rules applicable to the whole sector and believes there is a business case for using PEF, e.g. comparing different materials. In 2011, CEPI tested
in collaboration with the Commission the process aimed at developing rules for intermediate paper products. Based on experience and results from previous tests and pilots, CEPI volunteered to join the new three year pilot (2013-2016). The technical secretariat will be led by the Joint Research Centre of the Commission.
CEPI together with CITPA, the Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe, have revised the Industry
Guideline for the compliance of paper and board materials and articles for food contact.
The purpose of the Industry Guideline is, in the absence of a specific measure for paper and board, to enable manufacturers of paper and board materials and articles intended for food contact to demonstrate compliance with the EU Framework Regulation for food
contact materials. The updated guidelines are available in English, Polish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and German. The uptake of the guideline the Good Manufacturing Practices will be monitored and the documents reviewed periodically.
FACET is a multi-sector EU-funded project to produce a tool for assessing realistic exposure to chemicals from nutrition, taking into account multiple sources of the same chemical. CEPI focused on the impact of packaging in such exposure. For the first time, a project successfully produced an inventory of chemicals in packaging additives.
FACET involves 20 partners from across the EU, including CEPI, and joins the collaboration of academia,
industry, SMEs and national governmental agencies.
FACET is short for Flavourings, Additives and Food Contact Materials Exposure Task. (www.ucd.ie/facet)
Since 2000, the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC), for which CEPI acts as secretariat, has been committed to increase recycling and join efforts to remove obstacles to paper recycling in Europe. In 2012, 71.7% of paper was recycled. This achievement is remarkable considering that since the pre-crisis peak year of 2007, paper consumption in Europe has dropped by 13% whereas recycling has fallen by only 3.5%. Current paper consumption is at the same level as 1998 but the amount recycled is 1.5 times higher than in 1998 – before the industry’s first commitment to paper recycling. The recycling rate is starting to level out, however, and maintaining the high rate is becoming a challenge – in particular as it is not only consumption quantities that are changing but also consumption patterns.
The recycling rate is starting to level out, however, and maintaining the high rate is becoming a challenge – in particular as it is not only consumption quantities that are changing but also consumption patterns.
The ERPC also organises the European Paper Recycling Awards every two years recognising efforts in innovative projects that enhance paper recycling in Europe and hopes to inspire others to copy good practices. In 2013 the event took place in the European Parliament and was hosted by Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, member of the European Parliament. Voith Paper won the first prize in the category Technology Improvement and R&D with a new technology called LowEnergyFlotation (LEF). It is an innovative technique that significantly reduces the energy requirements needed to remove printing ink from paper fibres. The winner of the category Information and Education was the Alcorcón municipality in Spain. Their project improves paper and board collection by distributing paper bins in all schools in the district. It aims to increase both the amount of paper collected as well as environmental awareness among children.
Europe is the global paper recycling champion, and recycles almost 58 million tonnes within Europe, an all-time high.
And as the graph shows it is also the most recycled packaging material in Europe – a real European
71.7% – Europe is the paper recycling world champion!
Paper and board is the most recycled packaging in Europe!
Progress In Recycling
CEPI is coordinating the EU co-funded project “Fibre+: Innovative Paper Packaging Products for European SMEs Based on Functional Modification of Recovered Fibres”. Fibre+ is run by a consortium of ten partner organisations and two associations.The project will create innovative processes modifying recovered fibres for new functional packaging, reducingthe need of the sector for virgin fibre and supporting the competitiveness of the SMEs in the EU packaging sector.With this project the consortium is set to create a new generation of packaging through the improvement of physical and chemical properties of recycled papers that are more recyclable, less hygroscopic, stiff and durable, in particular those used for corrugated packaging.CEPI is also supporter of the EcoPaperLoop Project. In Central Europe the paper recycling rates are still highly inhomogeneous. Since paper for recycling is not only recycled in the country where it is produced, some essential features such as eco-design and eco-collectionconcepts must be developed at transnational level to increase the sustainability of the paper loop. The new project will improve the quality of paper for recycling. The EcoPaperLoop project will run until end of 2014 and is co-funded by the European Union/European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and local project partners.
ERPC Publishes Easy Office Paper Recycling Rules
Have you ever held a plastic spiral notebook or a used pizza box and wondered if it should go in the recycling bin? Did a windowed envelope end up in your waste bin because you didn’t have time to cut the window out, thinking that it should be removed?
The ERPC recently published a poster with nine simple rules for paper recycling, which answers the above questions and more. The rules are simple and can make a big difference if applied.