Our Paper has a mission: to help local authorities across UK collect a better quality of paper and card from the kerbside. We need to raise the standard of this material because we need to get better value from our recycling.
Every year, around 7.5-million tonnes of paper and card (fibre) is collected. Paper mills here in the UK re-process around 3.1-million tonnes of this and the rest is sent overseas for re-processing.
The UK is heavily dependent on export markets for its collected paper and card, however these markets and UK Mills have had enough of poor quality paper and card contaminated with food waste and non-fibre products. As a result, countries such as China have clamped down on poor-quality material, completely banning the export of mixed papers, reducing allowable contamination levels to 0.5% with reports that they will ban recovered paper outright in 2020. Other countries such as India, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand look set to follow suit.
As the export restrictions get tighter, local authorities will need to understand quality requirements to ensure value and sustainable outlets.
Our Paper was launched by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) and its members, with the support of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), to brief local authorities on the changing market and to work with them on strategies to ensure their paper and card meets mill requirements.
Separate collections of paper and card are the way forward. They guarantee high-quality material, which will always find welcome buyers. In this way better recycling will deliver better value for money, all the while protecting the environment.