The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) has issued a stark warning over the “extremely difficult market situation” the waste paper sector is facing.
And, it reasoned that for the high levels of ambition for recycling set by the European to be achieved, measures are needed to help the markets.
Today, 5 December, EuRIC cautioned that a “periodical year-end slowdown” in domestic demand from paper mills in Europe, combined with international trade restrictions, have “further increased the misbalance between supply of recovered paper collected and treated”.
And, the confederation said that there “is not yet an end to this downward spiral in sight” as the entire European market is facing an oversupply of millions of tonnes.
Tightening export markets have meant fewer end destinations for a variety of recyclable materials which has led to a drop in prices. For paper, this has accelerated in recent months and in the UK they now sit at their lowest prices since the 1980s.
EuRIC stated that the costs of collection and processing are no longer covered by revenues from the recovered paper and claims that for the recycling to continue, support payments by local authorities in some parts of Europe will be needed.
The confederation said: “As these sales substantially finance separate collection and treatment in many European countries and systems associated to them, the incentives for proper collection are endangered alongside with recycling companies which are increasingly ceasing activities.”
The statement emphasised that the recycling industry supports the principles behind the circular economy, but the time has come to bridge the “high level” of ambition of the European Union with market realities.
The body made a number of calls for both “quick wins” aimed at pulling the demand for recycled fibres in Europe and “medium to long-term ones” to alleviate market barriers affecting the recycling industry.
The suggested quick wins can be seen below:
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation – is the umbrella organisation for recycling industries, with more than 5,500 companies with an aggregated annual turnover of about €95 billion. Its members include the UK’s Recycling Association.