2014 saw a slight improvement in waste paper and board recovery, though the sector has yet to take off as a direct result of weak consumption in these years of economic recession. Whilst awaiting the consolidation of economic recovery that would improve access to credit for companies and households, and reduce unemployment to more acceptable levels, activity in the sector in Spain showed a slight increase of 2% in 2014.
In 2014, Spanish companies specialising in the treatment of waste paper and board, for subsequent reintegration into the system as a raw material, recovered 4,336,020 tonnes of waste paper and board, 2% up on the previous year. This figure refers to overall collection from municipal, commercial and industrial channels. Approximately 340,300 tonnes (8%) from the municipal channel was treated, while the remaining 3,995,720 tonnes (92%) came from commercial and industrial collection systems, which are fully managed by private companies operating in the sector.
3.444 million (79.5%) of the 4.336 million tonnes managed in Spain in 2014 was sent to Spanish paper mills, which ensure the recycling of all waste paper and board managed in the country. The remaining 892 million tonnes (20.5%) was sent to other markets. Of this, 281 million tonnes (32%) was sent to the European market, while 605 million tonnes (68%) was sent to the Asian market.
1.505 million tonnes of recovered paper was imported, down 2.5% on the previous year. 98.5% of these imports, or 1,482 million tonnes, came directly from Europe, 3% less than in 2013.
The correct treatment of this waste resulted in emissions savings of 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. There was a reduction in waste sent to landfill, a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a saving in valuable resources through the use of recycled materials in place of raw materials.
The collection rate currently stands at around 70% and despite the small margin for improvement, the sector continues to work towards increasing the volume of waste paper and board recovered for treatment.
Cristina Afán de Ribera / CEO. Spanish Recovered Paper Association (REPACAR)
Article published in: FuturENVIRO March 2015