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Britain’s Recycling Strategy Suffers as Paper Price Colapses

Paper price collapse blows hole in Britain’s recycling strategy

* Mark Milner, industrial editor
*, Tuesday November 11 2008 00.01 GMT
* The Guardian, Tuesday November 11 2008

Paper being recycled

Britain’s paper recycling strategy is under increasing strain after a collapse in waste prices in recent weeks, according to a leading industry organisation.

Britain lacks the capacity to handle the rising amount of paper being recovered for recycling, and its dependence on exports has left it vulnerable to a rapid price collapse, the Confederation of Paper Industries said yesterday.

Far Eastern buyers had been snapping up about three-quarters of Britain’s exports of paper for recycling, but demand from the region has almost disappeared recently, the CPI said.

“With no obvious signs of Far East buyers returning to the market soon there is a serious possibility that storage of recyclables may end up being a high-risk strategy with huge costs to those requiring storage, including the taxpayers through local authorities,” the CPI said in a statement.

“The worst-case scenario is that some material collected for recycling could go to incineration or landfill,” CPI recovered paper sector manager, Peter Seggie, said.

The UK collects about 8.6m tonnes of paper and board for recycling every year but UK paper makers can only handle 4m tonnes, resulting in dependence on export markets, primarily the Far East and Europe, to take the remainder. More …

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