Vermeulen who represents CEPI, a Brussels non-profit organisation representing the European pulp and paper industry, took over from Beatrice Klose, secretary general, Intergraf, on January 1 and will remain in the position until the end of 2016.
'Secure a separate collection at source'
Vermeulen told FoodProductionDaily the first thing he will implement as part of his role is to to secure a separate collection at the source.
“This is the only way to keep up a good quality of recovered paper to secure a high level of recycling in Europe in the future. We are also working on the revision of the deinkability scorecard and stepping up discussions on a similar scorecard for packaging,” he said.
ERPC adopted the deinkability scorecard assessment scheme in 2009 to promote the eco-design of printed products, to ensure their recyclability and promote sustainable production processes.
The scheme allows printers, publishers and other members of the paper value chain to identify which types of printed paper products have the best recyclability when they are deinked. Five parameters; luminosity, colour, cleanliness, ink elimination and filtrate darkening are considered in a widely accepted standardised test, INGEDE Method 11.
According to Vermeulen the biggest change companies need to be aware of this year is the European Commission’s review of the waste policy framework and the proposals for a circular economy.
The European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced plans to withdraw from the Circular Economy package in a presentation of the 2015 Commission Work Programme to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France in December.
He said at the time it wanted to ‘look beyond the narrow focus’ on waste and 'close the loop' by addressing recycling in product design and create a market for secondary raw material, with a more ambitious proposal to be announced at the end of 2015.
European Declaration on paper recycling 2011-2015
Vermeulen said the next step for ERPC is to look at the European Declaration on paper recycling 2011-2015 which comes to an end this year.
The Declaration will continue to set out measures to optimise the management of paper throughout the value chain from paper and board manufacturing, converting and printing through to the collection, sorting, transportation and recycling of used paper and board products back into the paper loop.
Signatories and supporters of the Declaration accept voluntarily to undertake a number of complementary actions contributing to this target wherever technically possible and economically reasonable.
“We will start discussing the contents of a next commitment period for the years 2016-2020,” added Vermeulen.
“On a recycling level the biggest challenge in this industry is to deal with the decrease of the quality of recovered paper. Several collection systems which stepped away from separate collection at source are producing material which is not good to produce good paper again.
“EU member states should carefully think with all legislation on collection and recycling if the material which is finally produced is of the right quality standard to secure a high level of recycling.
“My role is to listen to all the players in the paper supply chain and identify a common ground to improve recyclability, collection and recycling in Europe. To find common positions and speak with one voice.”
European Declaration on Paper Recycling
The ERPC was set up as an industry self-initiative in November 2000 to monitor the progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling.
In 2011, the ERPC committed itself to meeting and maintaining both the voluntary recycling target of 70% in the EU-27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2015 as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign, and research and development.
Vermeulen joined Smurft Kappa in 1994. He makes sure all the company mills get enough recovered paper in good quality for reasonable prices and is in charge of buying 100,000 tons of paper a week as well as managing the recovered paper facilities.
He is active in a number of recovered paper organizations and producer responsibility schemes across Europe such as CEPI, where he chaired the Recycling & Product committee for several years.