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European paper industry stands ready to defend Circular Economy in the context of Chinese waste import ban

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CEPI, the European association representing the paper industy has been closely monitoring market developments in reaction to the material waste import ban by the Chinese authorities including paper for recycling.

The import restrictions have caused disruption to the European markets and the countries where paper collection is comingled have been the first to be hit. This comingling practice raises the risk of contamination from other materials which can reduce the quality of paper for recycling and technically impede the recycling process.

The European paper industry is making investments and will continue to do so over the coming years in new paper recycling capacities which ensure that high quality paper for recycling remains in Europe. A core component to achieving more recycling in Europe will be to upscale our efforts on implementing European standards on the quality of paper for recycling (EN 643) and the collection of paper seperately from other recyclables.

It is estimated that less than 5% of paper collected in Europe has been directly impacted by the Chinese import waste ban. It nonetheless provides the industry with the impetus to drive forward quality paper for recycling which is effectively recycled in Europe. It is equally an indication that comingled collection systems are no longer sustainable both from an environmental and market perspective in the future.

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