Paper Presents: innovative and circular solutions for consumers

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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Paper presents by Thibault Belvaux

On September 4th, CEPI, FEFCO, ACE, and FEPE organised an interactive exhibition called Paper Presents (see the video here) to introduce the paper and board industry to the new members of the European Parliament. Along with several national paper associations that took part in the event as well, the paper and board industry was able to highlight the endless possibilities of paper products, the innovation they bring, and the circularity at the core of their industry.

“There are themes that CEPI and the co-organising partners have in common. Renewability, recyclability and the ability to mitigate climate change is what we have, we are proud of and we share with society,” said Jori Ringman, CEPI Director General.

One of the most interesting parts for the members of the Parliament was certainly the exhibition, which brought paper and board innovations to one place and showcased a large selection of ingenuous and sustainable inventions all created with paper and forest-fibre products. The Tree- Shirt is a great example. Based on Tencel Lyocell fibres made from sustainable wood sources, textiles can be made and thus, clothing. The fibres are produced in an environmentally responsible closed loop process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibres with high resource efficiency and low ecological impact.

Innovations in packaging were also on display, including Landbox Straw which, using organic, recyclable and hygienic materials, insulates products with shock absorption qualities during transit. Stretching Inner part, a bio-based and recyclable packaging material that protects fragile goods in transit, was also on exhibit.

There were also paper and board innovations meant for the food and drink industry. Wetclar paper straws was one example. These straws are made of virgin fibres produced specifically for food contact and certified by FSC, PEFC and ECOLABEL. They are also treated against humidity and guarantee hydrophobicity. All in all, the straws are a great alternative to single-use plastic ones. Other products, such as beverage cartons, are also constantly innovating to improve functionality while offering a low carbon footprint. Participants could taste water in beverage carton which is a new segment driven by the consumers demand for environmentally friendly products.

What is very important about the paper and board industry—and the products made with these materials—is that it is circular. Recycling rates for these materials are the highest in Europe.

The paper and board products are closing the loop and championing the circular economy, which is so important for Europe’s future.

“Our material is circular by nature. It can be 100% recycled and what distinguishes it from other materials is that it promises recyclability and it is also effectively recycled all over Europe,” said Angelika Christ, FEFCO’s Secretary General.

It is part of the industry’s belief in making sound environmental choices and enabling a good future for Europe and Europeans. Lisa Kretschmann, the Managing Director of FEPE, representing companies in the paper envelope manufacturing sector, explained: “Envelopes and mail are not just the only way to reach citizens in all corners of the #EU. For 60-80% of them, they are also the preferred means to receive important information.”

The paper and board industry is committed to supporting forest growth in Europe. Annick Carpentier, ACE Director General, announced that for every guest who attended the Paper Presents event, one tree will be planted. “This is one more reason to say thank you to everyone who joined us tonight.” You can follow CEPI Paper, FEFCO, ACE and FEPE on social media or online news for updates on this.

Every consumer must make a choice about the kind of products he or she wants to buy. The paper and board products are the ideal choice because they are the perfect example of the circular economy. This industry reflects a responsible future for Europe. The innovations within the sector continue to meet the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products.

We will continue to communicate about the sustainability of the paper products and new developments to the members of the European Parliament. We are committed to being a responsible and active partner in the circular economy.

Note to the editor

CEPI – The Confederation of European Paper Industries is a Brussels-based non-profit making organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing this industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Its mission is to promote the members’ business sector by taking specific actions notably, by monitoring and analysing activities and initiatives in the areas of industry, environment, energy, forestry, recycling, fiscal policies and competitiveness in general. Through CEPI, the paper industry increases its visibility and acts on emerging issues, making expert and constructive contributions on behalf of the industry.

FEFCO – European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers represents the interests of the European Corrugated Board Manufacturers. Headquartered in Brussels, FEFCO has 17 association members, all European national corrugated packaging organisations. The role of the Federation is to investigate economic, financial, technical and marketing issues of interest to the corrugated packaging industry, analyse all factors which may influence the industry, and promote and develop its image.

FEPE – The European Federation of Envelope Manufacturers is an international association representing more than 100 companies who are directly or indirectly involved in the paper envelope manufacturing sector in Europe. These comprise envelope manufacturing companies and suppliers.

ACE – The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment provides a European platform for beverage carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak and their paperboard suppliers in Europem, Stora Enso and BillerudKorsnäs, to benchmark and profile cartons as renewable, recyclable and low carbon packaging solutions. Engaging with stakeholders and partners seeking high environmental stewardship, it contributes expertise to EU policy, legislation and standard setting.

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