The Good and Best Practice Handbook For the Collection of Paper and Board for Recycling is the main outcome of the integrated work carried out by the IMPACTPapeRec project partners. You may download it in pdf format by clicking on the button below. Some of the material (the Evaluation tool, the Factsheets, and the Selection tree) are only available online.
Currently, the production of paper and board in the EU stands at 91 million tonnes per year. In 2015, consumption of paper and board stood at 82.5 million tonnes. 71.5% of all paper consumed in Europe was recycled, totaling of 59 million tonnes which were collected from households, commerces, industry and offices. The paper recycling rate is therefore 71.5%. 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 47,7 million tonnes in 2015.
However, this increase in the availability of Paper for Recycling (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 the collection of PfR observed over the last few years.
The project therefore focuses on countries where paper and board still largely ends up in residual waste or where the predominant collection scheme is commingled (i.e. paper is separated from residual waste but is collected mixed with other recyclables such as metals and plastics). These focus countries are Bulgaria, Poland and Romania from the first category and France and the UK from the second.
As the main outcome of the work carried out by the IMPACTPapeRec project, this “GOOD and BEST PRACTICES HANDBOOK” contains valuable information to help the different European regions increase their paper for recycling collection rate and support them in the implementation of the best collection procedures and those practices which bring greater results.
To ensure that this guideline addresses the key aspects and it is easy to use, the partners of the project have been asked for their regular feedback and validation of the content.
To improve the development and promotion of GOOD and BEST PRACTICES in paper collection there is a need for common evaluation and benchmarking methodologies. This methodology is completely described in Deliverable 2.2. of the project. The Handbook therefore includes a valuable information for the collection of PfR, which has been validated in the five countries that are the focus of the project (Bulgaria, France, Poland, Romania and UK). This integrated approach results in the present handbook which provides:
i. A knowledge database on current strategies, concepts and activities in best performing municipalities and European regions.
ii. A synthesis of good and best practices in the collection of paper for recycling.
iii. Conclusions and recommendations relating to the creation and implementation of good and best practices.
iv. Contacts for further information.
This “GOOD and BEST PRACTICE HANDBOOK” could serve as guidance for policy-makers and municipalities to develop and implement innovative solutions for the collection of PfR stage.
The purpose of distinction between GOOD PRACTICE (GP) and BEST PRACTICE (BP) is the following: instead of aiming to reach an abstract ideal state, the user gets inspired by existing practices that are already implemented and are already working somewhere else.
Additionally, “The GOOD and BEST PRACTICES HANDBOOK” has two formats, a paper format to download and a web version which include an interactive tool to ensure the accessibility for all users from different European countries. It is also a living document which will be updated until January 2018.
You can find all the definitions used throughout the project here.
4. Current situation in different European regions
The pulp and paper industry in Europe has undergone continuous growth over the last few years, which has increased the amount of Paper for Recycling (PfR) and the paper consumed to 59 million tonnes in 2015 (1). Demand for PfR in Asia has increased even more. Out of the 58 million tonnes collected, 10 million have been exported to Asia.
In this global context, the availability of European PfR as a raw material has forced the industry and the authorities to boost actions to ensure constant and sustainable procurement of PfR. All the PfR collected is currently recycled with the PfR collection rate equal to the PfR recycling rate except for those cases in which the quality of the collected materials does not meet industrial requirements (i.e. high wet content, presence of contaminants). These cases are also tackled in the IMPACTPapeRec Project. All this considered, current EU paper-recycling rate reached 71.5% in 2015 (1), as it is already mentioned. The project focuses on these countries with low and medium average paper recycling rates with the aim to increase their recycling performances.
European paper recycling rates 1991 – 2015
Despite the high collection and recycling ratio (almost 90%) (1) of paper and board from commerces and industry (applied in different industrial uses; i.e. corrugated boxes, office paper) thanks to the implementation of specific industrial PfR collection systems, there is still a broad margin to improve collection and recycling rates in terms of municipal PfR. Theoretically, 80% of household paper is recoverable (the remaining 20% is not recoverable due to its characteristics; i.e. toilet paper, wallpaper, tissue) (1). Moreover, policy trends establish a progressive increase in recovery percentages as well as prioritizing recycling and recovery, in this order, and avoiding elimination via landfill.
When EU paper and board collection and recycling rates are analysed (see figure above with representative countries of the northern, southern, eastern and central Europe), there is a notable gap between the different collection systems used in Europe. Depending on the regions considered, three different systems are employed: ① Door-to-Door- Separate collection of paper and board from other waste streams, ② Bring Bank sites- Separate paper and board from other waste streams, ③ Together with other recyclables like glass and plastic.