Crisis in the recovered paper sector: ERPA calls for urgent action

28.08.2019 − 

The European recovered paper sector is currently in "a crisis situation, with an increasing number of companies active in paper collection and recovery which are ceasing to operate on a temporary or permanent basis.” In a statement issued on Monday, ERPA, the recovered paper branch of the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) said this was "at odds with the goal of moving towards a more circular economy".

According to ERPA, Europe has a structural oversupply of about 8 million tonnes of recovered paper each year, which had been exported primarily to China until 2017. Import restrictions imposed by China and other destination countries in 2017 resulted in a sharp decline in prices over the past two years. The association pointed out that recovered paper prices in June 2019 were just a third of the level seen in June 2017. "Europe’s recycling industry cannot bear such market conditions for a third year in a row on top of regulatory barriers that need to be addressed urgently,” ERPA warned.

Private-sector waste management and recycling companies are not the only ones adversely affected by the sharp fall in recovered paper prices. ERPA argues that the price collapse jeopardises the entire value chain, including local authorities, which can no longer finance proper collections from the revenues generated by sales to recycling companies.

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