Brussels — The successful Horizon 2020 ImpactPapeRec Project Conference united more than 50 professionals from across Europe and debated the ways to increase separate paper collection in the EU, a key element in Europe’s transition towards a Circular Economy. The event took place in Barcelona (Spain) on 24 January.
ImpactPapeRec brings together the whole paper value chain for the first time in a joint project with the two-fold goal of promoting separate collection of “Paper for Recycling” and avoiding landfilling and incineration, particularly in countries with a low recycling rate. The event constitutes a step further in that direction.
In the past year, project partners exchanged views with paper collection decision-makers from seven municipalities ranging from the U.K to Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and France and mapped out the current waste management systems in Europe. The mapping, presented at the conference, revealed major differences in challenges between countries with a well-established recycling system and those where such a system is still being implemented. In addition, citizen awareness and motivation was a recurring topic throughout the event.
In order to enhance the discussion at the conference, key experts spoke about the importance of quality of paper for recycling, efficiency of payment systems and incentives to encourage recycling, as well as the sensitive issue of informal paper collection outside officially-established waste management systems. In addition, the partners presented some of the identified best practices, which will undergo a deeper analysis throughout the months to come. Attendees also participated in a world-café format informative meeting, sharing their views on critical issues such as standardisation and policymaking developments.
“Paper collection is a multi-dimensional issue and finding a stand-alone solution is not possible”, said Antonio Dobón, project coordinator from ITENE. “We are confident that the project will help us find the right ways to promote paper collection wherever we can”.
The project will come to an end in January 2018 with a final conference organised in Brussels. Until then, the 19 partners will continue to work towards achieving the project’s objectives. A number of the best practices identified will be selected, leading to the publication of an informational web-based “handbook“, a practical guide to help municipalities achieve better collection rates.
Source: Confederation of European Paper Industries