The European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) announced the winners of the fourth European Paper Recycling awards: the ceremony took place on 2 October at the European Parliament and was hosted by ALDE MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who underlined the importance of recycling in today’s society:
«With the increasing world population resource efficiency is no luxury. It’s a necessity to stay competitive. For now the EU is still the world leader concerning paper recycling. But if we want to stay in that position we need to set paper collection targets when the EU waste legislation is being reviewed next year. We have Member States that still collect less paper than the world average, which is unacceptable. We need to ensure that paper recycling happens throughout the whole EU.»
First winner in the category Technology Improvement and R&D was Voith Paper GmbH & Co. KG with a new technology called LowEnergyFlotation (LEF). «This is an innovative technique that significantly reduces the energy requirements needed to remove printing ink from paper fibres», explained product manager Reinhard Bluhm.
The newly developed injectors are at the heart of the LEF. Together with the modified pumps, they enable energy consumption to be reduced by up to 50% in the flotation. Subsequently, paper mills not only save energy but also achieve significant financial savings. The LEF technology has already been applied to more than 10 systems worldwide.
The winner of the category Information and Education was the Alcorcón municipality in Spain. Their project improves paper and board collection by distributing paper bins in all schools in the district. The project aims to increase both the amount of paper collected as well as environmental awareness among children. «In the end, more than 15,000 children will know how to recycle paper and will have learned the importance of recycling», said Alcorcon’s waste collection officer Susana Mozo, speaking at the ceremony.
In her speech ERPC Chairperson Beatrice Klose stressed the role of the recycling awards. «The European paper recycling awards recognise innovative approaches to paper recycling, which is a daily act, familiar to all. It is our pleasure to highlight a few of those that merit wider recognition and visibility», she added.
Three more entries were commended by the jury: International Paper Kwidzyn for its entry Seventh Heaven for Newspapers (Information and Education category), Lucart Group for «Natural Project: Tissue paper from beverage cartons» and Reculiner bvba for their work on «Sustainable paper release liner recycling» (Technology Improvement and R&D category).
The next edition of the ERPC recycling awards will be organised in 2015.