ASPAPEL urges generators to keep their recovered fiber within the EU.
In 2013, large retailers, banks, hotel chains, service companies, town councils and other large generators of scrap paper can “legally demand that their recyclable waste materials be [consumed] in Europe,” according to Spanish paper industry association Aspapel.
The Spanish Waste Act, which was passed in late November 2012, “upholds the legality of recycling ‘Made in Europe’ and gives Spanish generators of recyclable waste materials powers to decide on the final destination of their waste,” says David Barrio, director of recycling at Aspapel.
The newest legislation is a follow-up to the 2011 Waste Act, which gave town councils the option to give priority to recycling within the European Union. Now, with the recently passed law, which amends the previous Waste Act, the ability to state a preference for regional proximity is extended to private sector generators.
“Thanks to proximity recycling, the European recycling society turns the six metric tons of waste that each European citizen produces in a year into an opportunity to create wealth and green employment in Europe, in a sustainable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner, thereby giving value to the significant efforts made across Europe in recent years in terms of waste recovery,” states Barrio.
Exporters of recovered fiber and other materials are likely to view the measure as protectionist and hampering with established global trading patterns. Aspapel, in a news release endorsing the new law, says, “By developing a European Recycling Society through measures such as this new Spanish law, the EU estimates that over 400,000 jobs could be created in Europe between now and 2020.”
Aspapel says recycling paper, glass, metal and other materials “and turning them into new products manufactured by the European industry leads to the creation of a circular economy, which in turn builds up a larger industrial sector and creates wealth and employment precisely where the efforts and investments have been made to set up efficient waste collection systems. Furthermore, it guarantees that all recycling will be carried out in accordance with stringent EU environmental requirements.”
“The Spanish paper industry supports this initiative in favor of the circular economy with our own significant and expanding recycling capacity,” adds Barrio. “Nowadays, we are the second largest paper recycling industry in Europe—second only to Germany—a level that enables us to close our cycle by recycling all the used paper and board collected in the country.”
The new act, according to Aspapel, is phrased this way: “Producers and other initial holders of recyclable waste materials may give priority to their complete treatment within the European Union in order to prevent the environmental impact of transporting waste out of the EU, in accordance with applicable regulations.”