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EuRIC in Milan: The Chinese have said: “Basta!”

Italy – ‘€˜You will have to deliver quality if you want to secure your business,’€™ warns Hans van de Nes, president of the paper recycling branch of the European Recycling Industries’€™ Confederation (EuRIC) and managing director of Dutch paper and plastics recycler Sortiva. Speaking at EuRIC’€™s first European Recycling Conference held recently in Milan, Van de Nes said that, in the short term, ‘€˜we will continue to see disrupted recovered paper markets’€™ owing to China’€™s import restrictions on recyclables, including paper and plastics.
Exports are crucial for Europe’€™s recovered paper industry: currently, some 17.5% of the material collected in Europe is finding its outlet in Asia, mainly China. According to Van de Nes, the UK market will be hit hardest by the Chinese restrictions. ‘€˜We saw export prices for OCC and mixed paper drop immediately after the announcement by China in July,’€™ he pointed out. ‘€˜European mills decreased prices because of the extra offers from the UK market and other export-oriented areas.’€™
But Italy’€™s recovered paper exporters are also being – and will continue to be – hit hard by the Chinese contamination thresholds. ‘€˜You will see loads of recovered paper piling up as stocks here in Milan as elsewhere in Italy, as some materials simply will no longer be accepted by the Chinese,’€™ said Van de Nes.
The times of making easy money are definitely over, according to the speaker. ‘€˜The Chinese have said ‘€œBasta! We don’€™t want your garbage anymore’€. For too long, we have been relying on the huge demands from China. And yes, we have made a fortune. But we forgot one thing: you have to deliver quality.’€™
Van de Nes told his Milan audience that the future of the European recovered paper industry can be secured only if all players aim for the highest quality. ‘€˜That means high quality in the sorting and processing, and quality control on the output,’€™ he stressed. ‘€˜This policy should be an incentive for everybody, and bring back the necessary costs in our value chain where they belong: the producer of the waste.’€™

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