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End-of-waste proposal downed in Strasbourg

France – Despite the efforts of the recovered paper industry, the latest proposal to define end-of-waste for paper has been voted down in the European Parliament. The European Commission initiative was rejected by 606 votes to 77 in Strasbourg earlier this week.

Among the reported concerns of Members of the European Parliament was that the proposal’s impacts on shipments to third countries had not been properly assessed. Critics also suggested it could have had an adverse effect on EU paper recycling rates.

Teresa Presas, director general of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), comments: ‘We are glad to see the European Parliament remembered that the original purpose of defining when something is no longer to be considered a waste was to facilitate recycling not to obstruct it.’

If this legislation had passed, CEPI argues, ‘it would have relaxed the EU’s waste management rules and triggered a flight of waste paper out of the EU to Asia, pushing up prices in Europe and undermining the quality of waste paper available for the European recycling sector’.

While the European Recovered Paper Association has not issued an official statement in response to the Parliament’s decision, comment from European recovered paper industry officials will appear shortly.

Meanwhile, CEPI’s recycling and product director Jori Ringman-Beck states: ‘We now hope that the Commission’s environmental protection department will reflect on the content of this resolution and revise the criteria for determining when used paper is waste and when it’s not.’

According to CEPI, it is not against defining criteria to determine when used paper ceases to be classified as waste, but maintains that the approach ‘now needs to be fundamentally revisited and aligned with the newer, more progressive criteria that the Commission has developed lately for other material streams’.

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