Paper recycling

The European Parliament has rejected a European Commission proposal declaring that waste paper should cease to be waste once it has been recovered. A resolution opposing the draft regulation was adopted during the parliament’s plenary assembly in Strasbourg.

Member state diplomats meeting in Brussels have failed to reach the qualified majority needed to approve end-of-waste criteria for recovered paper. It will now be up to EU ministers to resolve the issue. If the ministers still cannot strike a deal, and assuming that the European Parliament does not raise any objections, the EU executive might then decide to adopt the proposal it put forward at the beginning of July.

Europe recycles 71.7% of its paper and cardboard according to a report published by the European Association of Paper industries. Nevertheless, landfill and incineration rates for other types of waste remain high across the continent.  Whilst, paper recycling rates rose some 30% over the past 20 years, to 71.7% in 2012 making paper the most recycled material in Europe. Paper fibre was reused on average 3.5 times a year in Europe compared to 2.4 times in the rest of the world now.