The European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) has asked authorities across the continent to help the paper industry to continue production and to facilitate the transport of goods during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Confederation of Paper Industries, the UK paper sector body based in Swindon, is represented on the EPRC by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).
Angelika Christ, chairwoman of the EPRC, said: “In these critical times, it is more than ever important to keep the supply for our industry running, in order to secure packaging for essential products.”
The EPRC says the paper production chain has committed to maintaining operations, while taking all necessary measures to protect workers, suppliers and customers.
It says the industry is needed to produce essential paper goods such as hygiene products and packaging for food or pharmaceuticals.
The EPRC suggests separate collections of paper for recycling from households and supermarkets, its sorting, and its transport to paper mills are all essential parts of the supply chain for the production of such good.
Its declaration echoes a plea made by the Recycling Association last week, which called on Defra to ensure recycling collections from households in the UK were maintained during the coronavirus pandemic (see letsrecycle.com story).
The Recycling Association says its plea was prompted by similar fears less material would be available to produce packaging needed to protect food and medical supplies if councils cut recycling collections.
As part of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, published this year, separate collections of materials is recognised as a prerequisite of the circular economy.
Following Brexit, it is unclear whether the UK will have to abide by the guidelines set out in the Plan.
“In these critical times, it is more than ever important to keep the supply for our industry running”
The EPRC notes that individual cities in some EU member states may be forced to reduce separate collections or close recycling centres due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the UK, local authorities such as Chiltern district council suspended all recycling collections, citing driver and loader shortages (see letsrecyle.com story ).
The EPRC was founded as an industry initiative in November 2000 to monitor progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in that year’s European Declaration on Paper Recycling.