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Wood pallet industry welcomes Waste Directive changes


FEFPEB welcomes changes that affect how recycling targets for wooden packaging are calculated, following work by the industry.

The European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) said the European Union has accepted that wood used in both the reuse and repair of pallets and packaging should be included in the calculation of recycling rates. It informed members about the changes – which have been incorporated into the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive – at its two-day spring meeting, held in Edinburgh at the beginning of May.

Speaking at the meeting, secretary general Fons Ceelaert, said FEFPEB had advocated the European Union’s Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive change and was pleased with the outcome. “Wood used in both reuse and repair of pallets and packaging has been accepted, which is a real success,” he said. “Not reaching recycling targets could cause great problems in terms of penalties, so we are happy with this helpful new regulation, which removes a lot of concern for our industry.” He added that under the amended directive, replacing one component in a pallet also now allows the full weight of the pallet to be accounted for as recycled.

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Rural Economy Secretary gave the keynote speech at the meeting, stressing that, with 42 million new pallets manufactured every year and 250 million in circulation in the UK alone, wooden pallets and packaging are essential to the economy.

“Scotland is home to some world class timber processors and leading pallet manufacturers,” he said. “Over 1 million cubic metres of UK timber is used to make and repair pallets every year, the bulk of which is grown in Scotland.”

He added that he expects wooden products to become increasingly important as part of a package of renewables that are essential to helping meet climate change targets into the future.

For this reason, he said, the government was working to ensure that there will be enough trees planted to ensure a regular, continuous stream of timber. The Scottish government has set a target of 10,000 hectares planted annually, rising to 15,000ha by 2024/25. It is working closely with the UK’s Confederation of Forest Industries (CONFOR) to meet these targets, he said.

Guy Watt of John Clegg Consulting gave members an update on the latest report on the UK industry, which he carried out on behalf of the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) and which demonstrated a clear rise in the quantity of recycling of wooden packaging.

FEFPEB updated members at the meeting on the potential implications on the industry of Brexit and stressed that its members in the UK and Europe are working together to ensure that trade will remain smooth whatever final deal occurs; as well as the work of the European Confederation of Forest Industries (CEI-Bois) in areas including wood availability and sustainability, free trade policies and wood dust.

FEFPEB’s spring meeting was organised with the help of TIMCON, which represents the sector in the UK and Ireland.

FEFPEB will hold its 69th congress in Hamburg, Germany, on October 9-11, 2019.

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