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IMPACTPapeRec to increase separate collection of paper for recycling in Europe.

The European project IMPACTPapeRec was launched in Valencia in February 2016. The objective of the project is to further increase the separate collection of paper for recycling (PfR) and promote appropriate schemes to avoid landfilling and incineration. The project will last over a period of two years and is financed by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme. It has evolved from a commitment on separate paper collection in the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials “IMPACT – Introduction and Improvement of Separate Paper Collection to avoid landfilling and incineration”. IMPACTPapeRec turns this initiative into real activities to be carried out in the identification and implementation of best practices for PfR collection in Europe.

Currently, the production of paper and board in the EU stands at 91 million tonnes per year. Consumption of paper and board stands at 82 million tonnes. 58 million tonnes of paper for recycling (PfR) are collected from households, commerces, industry and offices. The paper recycling rate is therefore 71.7%. The contribution of PfR to the raw material mix of the European paper industry has increased over the last few years from 25 million tonnes in 1991 to 47 million tonnes in 2014.

However, this increase in the availability of PfR has not taken place in all EU states, and this is especially true in Central and Eastern European countries. Moreover, the quality of the collected material does not always meet the requirements of paper recycling. Without additional measures, these two facts will make it difficult to keep up with the increases in PfR collection observed over the last few years. The project therefore focuses on countries with below average paper recycling rates such as Bulgaria, Poland and Romania as well as countries where paper from households, small shops and offices is often collected in a commingled stream with other recyclables, as is the case in France and the UK.

IMPACTPapeRec is a consortium of 19 partners from eight countries, i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain. The innovative approach of the defined participatory strategies on separate paper collection for efficient recycling is based on the commitment of the whole paper value chain: Research entities (ITENE and PTS), large paper companies (Saica, Hamburger, Stora Enso), large waste management company (Tega), a European retailer (Carrefour), representative SME groups (PROPAKMA, Fenix Dupnica) municipalities (ACR+, Sfantu Gheorge, Mihai Viteazu, Dupnitsa, Mezdra, Trivalis), the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN), an EPR scheme (Ecofolio), the European paper sector organisation (CEPI), and an eNGO (EEB). They rep resent a clear balance along the value chain.

IMPACTPapeRec wants to act as the common European information point for PfR collection for the European industry, by pooling and disseminating information and bringing together stakeholders from the value chain to exchange results, findings and experiences. In order to improve the development and promotion of best practices in paper collection there is a need for common evaluation and benchmarking methodologies. A best practice handbook will be developed to support the different EU regions in the implementation of best collection procedures.

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