The Chinese ban on imported paper for recycling calls us to reflect about the industrial policies in Europe. Besides, the paper collection is growing rapidly in Europe but the European recycling capacities are increasing more slowly. Just recently the Italian waste management association Unirima has urged the Italian paper industry and the country’s government to act fast to solve the problem of rapidly declining paper for recycling (PfR) demand, which it said is mainly due to the Chinese ban on imported PfR.
In a letter sent to the Italian paper makers’ association Assocarta and to the Italian Ministries of Environment and Economic Development, Unirima invited the two ministries and Assocarta to set up a discussion forum in order to find a solution to the problem.
On this the paper industry position is clear:
– the problem extends beyond Italy. the paper industry is monitoring the situation in China with the competent offices in the country and the matter involves not only Italy, but also Europe and the entire world;
– in the past, the situation was reversed, in that there was a sustained increase in demand for recycled material including PfR in China, causing prices to rise which impacted the operations of many recycling paper mill;
– the market situation is complicated for everyone, including the paper industry, which is facing a strong increase in virgin fiber prices, a development that significantly impacts costs and which is not necessarily recognized by clients and retailers.
In conclusion the paper industry proposes in the short term measure is to allow paper for recycling to be stored for a longer time.
Least but not last, the paper industry suggests to increase the treatment capacity for the paper residues from recycling.
In particular this measure can further push the investments that are being made and future ones.
Industrial policies are urgently needed in Europe and Italy!