Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Christopher Huhne Christopher Huhne Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(1) what assessment he has made of the effects of the increased export of UK recovered paper to China on the WRAP target for an additional 220,000 tonnes a year of increased recyclate use by the UK manufacturing sector by March 2008;

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of increased export of UK recovered paper to China on companies who have already switched from using virgin pulp to recovered fibre;

(3) what steps are being taken to encourage the collection of high grade recovered paper from (a) offices and (b) schools and universities.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is commissioning a risk assessment report on the future of paper exports, which will outline the opportunities and risks associated with the export of paper, as well as future predictions and recommendations. This report will help inform WRAP's future work in this area. However, increased exports of recovered paper to China are unlikely to have a significant impact on WRAP's 2008 target to increase the use of all recyclates by the UK manufacturing sector by an additional 220,000 tonnes a year.

In 2005, paper manufacturers within the UK used 4.5 million tonnes of recovered paper, while 1.5 million tonnes were exported to China. Since 2001, work by the WRAP has led to an extra 3 million tonnes of new recycling capacity, with at least another 1 million in the pipeline. It is also increasing demand for recycled materials across the public and private sectors. Capital funding from WRAP has provided an additional 320,000 tonnes of newsprint reprocessing capacity at the UPM Shotton paper mill—enough to recycle the newspapers and magazines from an extra 4 million households in the UK. In addition, manufactured newsprint in the UK is now made from 100 per cent. recycled fibre.

WRAP's Recycled Paper Advocacy Team, launched in September 2006, is already working with a number of large companies and Government Departments to help them switch to using high quality recycled paper for their office requirements and printed publications. This includes work with a large number of blue chip companies with the potential to increase the use of recycled paper by up to 2,000 tonnes per week.

WRAP is working to increase the levels of paper and other recyclates recovered from all sources (including businesses, schools and universities) and is due to launch the Schools Recycling Awareness Programme on 23 January.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) recently held a consultation on a sustainable schools strategy and Defra will be working with DfES and other partners, including WRAP, following the consultation to help schools minimise, reuse, recycle and compost their waste. It is our intention as part of this work to issue guidance to schools to include issues around the definition of waste from schools and 'top ten tips'.

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