22 November 2005

Paper merchants astonished by covered yards proposal

Recovered paper merchants have reacted with astonishment at a proposal from government that recovered paper in their yards must be stored under cover.

The proposal comes in a consultation document on amendments to waste management licensing exemptions. At present most recovered paper merchants – or waste paper firms as they are commonly known – are exempted from the need to meet full licensing requirements.

Both the two UK organisations representing the industry are writing to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to press their case for the Department to drop the proposal.

“Merchants would incur greatly increased and unnecessary costs”
– David Symmers

In its consultation, Defra states that: “The storage of waste under this exemption must be on an impermeable surface, and for waste paper, cardboard or textiles under a weatherproof covering. These are additional requirements, and are in keeping with the need for more specific rules to encourage recovery of waste, to better protect the environment and human health, and to ensure the exemption is compliant with
Directive requirements.”

Defra reasons that the changes to the waste management licensing exemptions regime in England and Wales are needed to ensure that the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Directive are fully met. Together with the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005, and the Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005, these changes will complete the full transposition of the Directive in England and Wales.

The response from the recovered paper sector was firm. David Symmers, chief executive of the Independent Waste Paper Processors Association, said: “There is no need for recovered paper merchants to cover their yards. Merchants would incur greatly increased and unnecessary costs.”

His view was endorsed by Mike Nicholls, a former president of the association, who operates a paper recovery business in London. Mr Nicholls said: “We are working to recover paper on a low margin basis. Putting up roofing will be a considerable costs and I don’t believe that local authorities will necessarily grant merchants planning permission.”

Peter Seggie, recovered paper sector manager for the Confederation of Paper Industries, said: “The material our merchants deal with is non-hazardous. It is fair enough for hazardous material, such as WEEE, to be kept under cover. For the paper sector this proposal will mean an excessive cost requirement with no clear environmental benefits. It will not help increase collection rates and it could even be a risk to current businesses.”

Mr Seggie said that representations had been to Defra already about the proposal and a robust written response would be submitted by the consultation closing date of December 16, 2005.

Related links:

Defra consultation document, as a PDF

Independent Waste Paper Processors Assocaition

Confederation of Paper Industries


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