Spain leads an European alliance: Paper sacks go circular

14.06.2024 Press releases


Paris/Stockholm, June 2024: Spain leads a new European Alliance to boost the circular economy of kraft paper sacks and other construction materials.

A coalition of 12 European companies (Envalora, Neinor Homes, Ohla, Grupo Arpada, Macotran, RCD Asociacion, S. SOLIS, Uder, Alier, Mondi Group, Saint-Gobain Spain, and CoCircular) has launched a pioneering initiative. This program will touch on topics such as a reduction in the use of raw materials, the reuse of materials, the optimisation of recycling, and the adoption of good practices for segregated collection in the construction sector.

This alliance, recently joined and mainly financed by two associations from the kraft paper sack industry—EUROSAC and CEPI Eurokraft—arises from a common interest in achieving full circularity in recycling paper sacks and other materials used in construction, promoting efficient industrial waste management.

The construction sector has a significant global environmental impact, both from the direct consumption of resources for material manufacturing and from the waste generated during the construction process. In Spain, according to the latest data from the INE, the waste from the construction sector accounts for over 30% of the total waste generated in the country, with a recovery rate that barely reaches 48%.

For example, according to EUROSAC just in Spain, construction sector sack packaging amounts to 29,000 tons per year out of 63,000 tons of paper sacks in total placed on the Spanish market), which have high recyclability potential, but are mostly not recycled today.

This occurs due to several reasons:

  1. Perception that paper sacks are difficult and complex to recycle.
  2. Current contamination of sacks from residual material, which poses challenges for existing paper recycling operations.
  3. Lack of firmly established waste separation and collection structures at production sites or construction sites.
  4. Insufficient separation systems and processes, resulting in most sack waste being widely dispersed geographically and mixed with other forms of waste.
  5. Lack of standardisation in the classification and characterisation criteria of sack waste in the recovery and treatment phases.
  6. Lack of awareness and specific training in waste management in the sector.

Alliance commitments
The aim is to achieve a sustainable balance between environmental and economical aspects for the waste materials generated by the construction industry. The initiative promotes actions that will facilitate the recycling of paper sacks and other construction materials that do not currently have high recycling percentages (such as plaster, insulation, plastic containers, etc.). With responsible management and the implementation of a rigorous traceability system, the Alliance aims to ensure optimal recovery processes, with a focus on transparency and efficiency at all stages of the value chain. The companies act as a network of partners, each contributing to the broader value chain and always aiming towards building significant positive impact. Additionally, their commitment aims to inspire other stakeholders to join and collaborate.

What does the creation of this alliance involve?
This working group, involving all value chain partners, aims to achieve paper sack circularity through efficient industrial management, maximising recycling and reuse of construction industry waste materials. The participating companies form a network with a common goal: to significantly reduce environmental impact and promote circularity.

Why is this alliance important?
This alliance underscores the importance of collective action throughout the value chain to achieve real impact. Through a shared vision, entities are collaborating with determination, pooling resources for more significant impact. Their commitment focuses on actively promoting the initiative and encouraging other interested parties to join, while being mindful of current challenges.

The initiative, originating in Spain, is expected to have a positive impact on the industry's business model. Therefore, an open invitation is extended to all sector companies, as well as associations and entities interested in joining this initiative.

WEBINAR ON JUNE 27, 2024, 10h00 (CEST)
On June 27, 2024 at 10h00, the members of the Alliance will present the project and its benefits to the construction sector and all those interested in joining the sustainability change:

Register here for the webinar (in SPANISH):


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