Within a month, from August to September, the price of the recycled paper fell by 69%. What seems to be good news, however, actually hides the crisis of an entire sector: the recycling sector. The sharp reduction in prices, in fact, is explained by the slowdown of the downstream industrial sector – that is the paper mills – which slowed down its activity due to the dear energy. The increase in electricity and gas bills, combined with the shutdown of some plants, threatens to jeopardize the good results of Italy, which for years has made the recycling of paper materials one of its industrial excellences.
The cost of the card
THE first lockdown of 2020 and the temporary closure of some activities caused a sharp decrease in the production of paper and cardboard. There collection of waste paperinsufficient compared to the demand, thus led to a sharp rise in prices which stabilized towards the end of the year, only to then rise again in 2021. Since last year, the world ofpublishing (and not only) has denounced the impossibility of coping with cost increases. The initial explanation was this: i lockdown generalized led to a boom in online shopping, and consequently of the cardboard needed for packaging. Many paper mills, therefore, have set aside – in whole or in part – the production of graphic card, the one used to print books and magazines. To make the situation worse, there was then war in Ukrainewhich also led to a reduction inimport of cellulose, in addition to the increase in light and gas. The situation was felt especially for families with school-age children, who saw the costs of notebooks, diaries and textbooks.
An Italian excellence
The collapse in the prices of recycled paper, a more or less direct consequence of the paper mill crisis, could put the recycling sector at risk. Because of this, Unirima – the leading association of companies in the sector – has launched a appeal to the government. The request is to protect a fundamental sector for the ecological transition, which has about 20 thousand employees and an annual turnover of 4 billion euros. «The green transition and the circular economy are the only prospect for sustainable development – he comments Giuliano Tarallopresident of Unirima – We are confident that, in this difficult moment for everyone, the new executive will be able to seize the opportunity with legislative measures And investments“. However, the trade association’s annual report also shows good results. Italy, in fact, placed second in Europe for recycling of paper and cellulosic materials. In 2021, the recycling rate of paper and cardboard85%: a figure well above the European average. Compared to the rest of the EU countries, Italy is ahead on the roadmap of thecircular economy: the EU recycling target for cellulosic packaging set for 2025 (75%) was achieved in 2009, while in 2020 our country also exceeded the target set for 2030 (85%).
Cover photo: ANSA / STEFANO SECONDINO | The RDM paper mill in Villa S.Lucia, in the province of Frosinone
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