Recycling and utilisation of fibre packaging working well

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In its directive on packaging and packaging waste, the EU has set minimum targets for the recycling of wood and fibre packaging waste that must be attained by the end of 2008. Finland decided to set a more stringent 75% recovery target for fibre packaging, placing these products at an unequal position in relation to other packaging materials which do not have corresponding recovery targets. In addition to recycling, energy use also counts as recovery.

According to the directive, 60% of fibre packaging waste must be recycled. In Finland, clearly more of this waste, 70%, is already recycled. However, Finland decided to set a more demanding 75% recovery target than required by the EU; this places fibre materials at a clear disadvantage to other packaging alternatives which do not have similar recovery targets. Fibre packaging includes corrugated cardboards, liquid containers (e.g. milk and juice cartons) and paperboard packaging (e.g. for biscuits and breakfast cereals).

In 2008, 15% of wood packaging waste must be recycled – this is a demanding objective because, at present, only about 7% of wood packaging is recycled in Finland. In addition, some 80% of wood packaging is burnt to generate energy, but this does not count as recycling. Utilising wood packaging in the generation of energy works well in Finland, but, as it is not considered at all in legislation, it does not count in the industry’s favour. Wood packaging can be recycled acceptably as, for example, raw material for the panel products industry, in the manufacture of new packaging and in the building of green areas or it can be composted. Wood packaging includes transport pallets, mountings, boxes, packaging frameworks and support structures as well as cable reels.                

Four producer organisations promote the utilisation and recycling of fibre packaging in Finland. The company Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy, which commenced operations in 2005, acts as the producer organisation for wood packaging and handles the recycling for the sector. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is a stakeholder in the company.

For more information, please contact:

Fredrik Blomfelt, Senior Advisor, Environment, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 40 705 7389