The EU framework
A completely revised EU Waste Directive (2008/98/EC) is being transposed into national legislation in the EU member states (dead line 22 December 2010). The Directive clearly identifies waste not only as a problem to regulate disposal, but for the first time as a potential for resource use.
Implementing this resource approach in the national waste rules will create a positive framework for raising the bar in paper recycling, contributing significantly to the aim to reach a recycling society in the EU. A key obligation supporting good quality recycling is separate collection of paper in all member states by 2015.
In the paper recycling, the Directive also offers possibilities to make better use of the raw material by using carefully all the residual streams from paper recycling improving resource efficiency of the paper value chain. The legislation also supports eco-design towards better recyclability – work pioneered by the European Recovered Paper Council since it took the current form in 2005 with 14 industry sectors along the value chain.
The Commission is currently preparing criteria to allow paper for recycling to be classified as secondary material instead of waste. This would help to push the optimal recycling rate higher up in Europe.