On Tuesday 21st January, the Awarding Ceremony of the 7th Edition of the European Paper Recycling Awards took place in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event takes place every two years with the specific goal to highlight and reward European projects, initiatives or campaigns that change the way we recycle paper in Europe and help us achieve our ambitious goal of a 74% paper recycling rate by 2020.
The European Paper Recycling Awards are run by the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) which encompasses the entire paper recycling value chain across Europe. The EPRC was set up as an industry self-initiative in November 2000 to monitor progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling.
The ceremony awards the winners who have presented game-changing projects in two categories: ‘Innovative Technologies and R&D’ and ‘Information & Education’. The winners of this edition were the German company Repulping Technology GmbH & Co. KG for its technological developments and the international association Pro Carton for the educational work about paper recycling and its circular economy.
The first winner invented a new technology that makes the extraction of pulp fibres for recycling from products mixing papers and other material a lot easier and more energy efficient. The company’s new invention, the cavitation pulper, a machine exploiting the physical principle of cavitation, allows for an almost 100% recovery of the fibres from these products with an energy efficiency about 50% better than other technologies.
Pro Carton set up a European-wide educational program aimed at children primarily aged between 8 and 11 years and called TICCIT (Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees). The first of its geographical size, the program allows businesses across the paper value-chain to explain in schools the many benefits of recycling. The program reports a very high-degree of appreciation among the children with an expected spill over effect in families, leading to broader awareness of the importance of paper recycling.
“With the Green Deal, the EU has developed a new ambitious leadership to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent. The Green Deal sets a path for a just and socially fair transition that leaves no one behind. But the involvement in climate action from all sectors is crucial. The European Paper Recycling Award is a great way to shed light on innovative, best-practice projects and initiatives in the field of paper recycling and I am very glad to see the strong interest and the innovative applications that we have received,” commented Jytte Gutteland, Swedish politician, Member of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, host of the EPRC Award 2019 and member of its jury.
Her fellow jury member the EPRC Chairperson Angelika Christ stated, “Recycling is the promise to save resources by repeatedly using them. For this we need the best available ideas. This year’s competition demonstrated again the creativity of people to make our world a better place by developing new technologies, ideas and communication to save material and resources.”
During the ceremony, the Secretary of the EPRC and Cepi Raw Materials Director Ulrich Leberle presented the findings of the EPRC Monitoring Report 2018. He said, “The Monitoring Report confirms that paper recycling in Europe continues to be on the right path and on the rise, reaching the level of 71.6% in 2018, even if the latest data shows a slight decline due to Chinese restrictions of import”.
Together with Mrs Gutteland and Mrs Christ the jury was also composed by ASPAPEL, the Spanish Association of Pulp and Paper Manufacturers and the 2017 winner of the EPRC Awards, and Susanne Haase, a journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the international paper and pulp industry.