Paper Recycling is not a One Way Street, even during crisis
Last update: April 21, 2020 | Author: Gerard Nijssen
Today’s waste paper is tomorrow’s egg tray
The industry associations supporting the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) are asking all authorities to enable a continued collection and recycling of paper to keep the supply running, in order to secure packaging for essential products.
With a recycling rate in the EU of 84.6% in packaging the paper and board value chain depends on paper for recycling.
More than 75% of US paper mills depend upon recovered fiber from recycling operations for their daily production needs, and a significant number of paper mills in the US rely on recovered fiber for 100% of their feedstock.
Collection and recycling of used paper more important than ever in times of health crisis
European Paper Recycling Council
Why do I have to recycle more cardboard and paper right now?
In the current crisis we see a quick acceleration of “The Amazon Effect” Home meal delivery services and e-commerce are growing very quickly and are causing a surge in demand for paper-based packaging. This is contributing to an increase in brown paper waste at home. But consumers only send a low percentage of cardboard for salvage, where grocery and big-box retail companies routinely repackage cardboard waste for sale to paper pulpers.
At the same time municipalities around the globe are dropping recycling programs, while most national governments agreed to continue garbage pickup.
The continuity and even expansion of cardboard and paper recycling is during this crisis even more important because a pandemic requires a lot of recycled cardboard and paper, which are remade into e-commerce delivery boxes and into hygiene paper as tissue and toilet paper.
Can you imagine a global food chain and e-commerce services without boxes?
In our Circular world we do need every part of the paper chain to collaborate
A world without paper for recycling is a world without toilet paper and boxes. Paper recycling is not a One Way street and we need your support to Recycle More.
Rethinking Our Recycling Policies: The Three Opportunities of the Recycling Crisis
After China’s ‘No’, in 2017 it was followed by other importing countries and it sent prices of scrap plastic and recovered paper tumbling, creating a crisis for municipalities that had relied on such sales to subsidize curbside recycling.
The Global Recycling Crisis was the wake-up call the world needed to reduce the amount of rubbish generated and act more responsibly on recycling. Shipping waste around the world was never a sustainable system.
After more than two years of struggling in the recycling industry, we now see demand skyrocketing and supply dwindling. As the world’s biggest suppliers of recovered paper as raw material the US and EU are in the right position to rethink our own recycling policies.
Opportunity One is keeping recycled paper clean by local governments.
Some collectors are starting to change the composition of collection from Dry Mixed Recycling (DMR) to Cardboard and Paper Only to minimize the risks for staff. Paper mills also prefer recycling programs that collect paper separately from other recyclables. Another reason is that porous surfaces like cardboard are much less likely to hold viable amounts of the virus.
Opportunity Two is to recycle much more residential paper to support the global packaging supply chain with raw materials.
Opportunity Three is rethinking our export policies with our own governments.
How can I recycle clean, dry and loose paper to support the paper chain?
- Ask your local government to continue cardboard and paper collection.
- Separate your cardboard and paper from your trash with the following tools. A touch-free motion sensor bin, a two-compartment recycling bin with foot pedal, or a blue recycling bin for paper waste.
Touch-free recycling bin
Dual recycling bin
Blue recycling bins
#ThePaperPeople are working together to make sure you have the essentials
Read this tribute from The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) to all waste collectors who are playing an essential role in the paper chain, as the collection of used paper at the municipal level is more important than ever in times of health crisis. Without a separate collection of paper for recycling from households and supermarkets, they could face severe disruptions to the value chain, as recycled fibers are an essential part of the paper supply chain.
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- ISRI – COVID-19: Recycling Part of Essential Critical Infrastructure
- Recycling.com – “Councils must maintain recycling collections”, says The Recycling Association
- The Recycling Partnership – Paper is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world (recyclingpartnership)
- WM – Waste Management Encourages Continued Recycling
- Express & Star – UK Governments new guidance for local authorities stimulate collection recyclables
- Waste Dive – COVID-19 turns some recycled fiber market dynamics on their head
- Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) – Covid-19 Update: Fragmented picture for under-pressure recycling industry
By Recycling.com/ 30 March 2020