Bureau of International Recycling (BIR)

Asian Recovered Paper Collection set to increase


Increasing environmental awareness is helping to boost recovered paper collection volumes in Asia, with some countries even considering legislation to induce higher collection rates. As a result, exporters to the region “really need to focus on quality” if they want to sustain their volumes, the BIR Paper Division Round-Table in Brussels was urged by its President, Ranjit S. Baxi of UK-based J&H Sales International.

In this context, he warned that overall recovered paper quality standards in Europe have not been as high this year as they were; at the same time, the continent has appeared to lose import market share in China, principally to Japan. Mr Baxi predicted that, from all sources, China will import around 24m tonnes of recovered paper this year compared to more than 27.6m tonnes in 2009 and 24.15m tonnes in 2008. In providing a summary of the European market, David Symmers of The Recycling Association in the UK reported that most countries are witnessing “good” mill demand but “weak” collection volumes - particularly among the mechanical deink and woodfree grades.

Recovered paper supply has been more stable in Germany but new mill capacity to the east has continued to apply upward pressure on prices, he added. Lower-than-normal generation was also reported for the USA by Michael Moulton of Koch Pulp and Paper Trading LLC. Domestic OCC prices have been exceeding historical averages, he added. Reporting on European Recovered Paper Association affairs, the body’s President Merja Helander of Lassila & Tikanoja Plc in Finland noted that the process to determine end-ofwaste criteria for recovered paper “should be finalised by the end of 2011”.

She also pointed out that Europe achieved a world record paper recycling rate of 72.2% in 2009 as collected volumes fell 3.2% to 58m tonnes.
Among a number of guest presentations to the BIR Paper Division Round-Table in Brussels, the President of US-based consultancy Moore & Associates, Bill Moore, predicted that OCC prices will decline within the next six months; meanwhile, independent consultant Ilpo Ervasti of Finland highlighted the impact on the OCC market of China’s block approach to buying or not buying. “China acts like a company,” he contended.

Proposed legislative changes in Germany could lead to private recovered paper firms losing business to community-owned companies, warned Hubert Neuhaus of Neuhaus Handels GmbH. And it was suggested by Peter Hall, Managing Director of APL Liner Shipping in the UK & Ireland, that freight rates will remain under pressure for the remainder of the year and are likely to be “subdued” in 2011. The BIR Paper Division’s latest Papyrus prize, which is conferred on an individual or organisation deemed to have made a significant contribution to paper recycling, was awarded in Brussels to Indonesian paper and packaging producer Indah Kiat Serang (see separate press release).

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