DS Smith discusses Chinese Quality Standards at the International Recovered Paper Day

On 12 April 2018, DS Smith Recycling’s Head of Recovered Paper for Central & Eastern Europe, Herman van der Meij, discussed the impact of China’s import quality controls at the 21st International Recovered Paper Day in Düsseldorf.

Organised by the BVSE, Germany’s federal association for secondary raw materials and waste management, the conference covered topics including the latest developments in EU policy, prosperity models for 21st century economies, and the paper industry’s role in a dynamic world.

Herman spoke alongside other paper industry experts on a panel titled ‘The New Chinese Quality Standards, Import Requirements for Recovered Paper, and the Effect on Global Supply and Demand Ratios’.

The panel’s discussion covered topics including the impact of ecommerce, the long-term effects of China’s ban, whether the contamination tolerance of 0.5% is achievable without further investment, and the importance of focusing on quality.

Speaking after the event, Herman commented:

“China, with an emphasis on quality materials for recycling, has stepped on the brakes for their material imports, and this has reminded the industry of the importance of quality throughout the whole supply cycle.

Quality recycling doesn’t start at the paper mill – it starts the moment paper is put into a collection system, with the understanding that paper is then a raw material, and like all raw materials it must comply with quality specifications in order to ensure a high quality of manufactured product."

Quality starts by explaining to consumers and organisations that they need to put the right recyclable in the right bin. As an industry we must provide the right collection infrastructure to allow for high quality paper for recycling to feed into mills around the globe – and certainly for paper the best way to do that is to keep it separate from other materials.

With over 500 delegates present, it was a great opportunity for the industry to draw upon the expertise in the room to address some of the global challenges that lie ahead, including the effects of the move to more and more online shopping and the challenge that gives us on how we recover more and more paper based packaging from households.