Hands-on Circular Economy – An inspiring paper mill visit with permanent representation officials
The Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a field trip for Industry and Environment Council working group members to illustrate the Circular Economy, one of the Presidency’s top priorities. The Presidency chose the state-of the-art paper mill in Roermond, The Netherlands. The mill is operated by Smurfit Kappa and its raw material is 100% recycled paper, making it the perfect example of circularity. The visit was co-organised with the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Royal Dutch papermaking association VNP.
“We are very happy to be given the opportunity to demonstrate that paper is at the heart of the Circular Economy”, said CEPI Acting Director General Jori Ringman. “The paper industry champions many aspects of circularity from reusing water to industrial symbiosis, from including the whole value chain in advancing circularity to working towards clean and safe cycles. Whilst the recycling starts already at homes and offices and is a chain of many important actors, it is vital that EU legislation acknowledges the final recycling where the material is physically transformed to start a new cycle; this is what the participants saw today in practice”, he added.
Europe is a world champion when it comes to paper recycling, achieving a 72% recycling rate in 2014.
The Roermond mill is a great example of Circular Economy. It processes 600 000 tonnes or one million bales of waste paper into new paper rolls every year, which is more than 25% of the annual collected amount of paper for recycling. “The companies in our sector produce products in a very high tech and sustainable way, products that play a very important role in everyday life. The participants of the field trip could closely experience that in Roermond,” said Gerrit Jan Koopman, Director of Royal VNP.