Brussels - The “green shoots of recovery” have become more apparent in recent months, not least because financial stimuli have kick-started the global economy. However, the upturn is set to be slow and a number of challenges continue to confront the paper recycling sector, it was noted in Amsterdam by BIR Paper Division President Ranjit Baxi at the BIR Autumn Round-Table Sessions in Amsterdam.
On a more positive note, it was confirmed that China has continued to increase its imports of recovered fibre following a pronounced dip in orders around the start of this year. According to Mr Baxi, the country bought in some 18.6m tonnes in the first eight months of 2009, with the USA providing 7.654m tonnes and Europe around 6.5m tonnes. If Chinese imports continue at this rate for the remainder of the year, they will total around 27.9m tonnes for 2009 as a whole - an increase of some 15 percent over the 24.15m tonnes of 2008, delegates were informed.
Data provided by guest speaker Bill Moore of the well-known USA-based consultancy Moore & Associates showed that China’s recovered paper imports slumped in January this year but quickly recovered to an all-time monthly peak in April. By the year 2014, his figures suggested, China could be a net importer of around 35m tonnes of recovered paper.
Fellow guest speaker Trilochen Singh of RKS International Sales GmbH & Co. KG in Germany predicted that import demand from China would rise to 37m tonnes by the year 2012 while requirements in India would jump to 20m tonnes by the year 2020 in response to paper manufacturers upscaling their technologies.
Rising sea freight rates was another challenge to the recovered paper sector identified by Mr Baxi. And guest speaker Peter Hall, Managing Director for the UK & Ireland of container transportation specialist APL, warned that a continuation of “unsustainably low” freight rates would lead potentially to shipping line failures, to a degradation of service levels and, in the longer term, to a lack of re-investment within the container shipping industry.
In her report on European Recovered Paper Association activities, Merja Helander of Finland-based Paperinkeräys Oy confirmed that the European paper recycling rate has reached 66.6 percent. The key question now, she said, is how high the recycling rate can feasibly go. “It can’t go up forever,” she added.
The meeting in Amsterdam also saw the family-owned SAICA Group become the latest recipient of the BIR Paper Division’s Papyrus Prize. The award recognises the group’s increasing use of recovered fibre as well as its “healthy partnership” with companies in the supply chain. On receiving the prize from BIR World President Dominique Maguin of France, SAICA’s Materials Director Guillermo Vallés Albar confirmed that its mills have used solely recovered paper for more than a decade. Quelle: Bureau of International Recycling (BIR)