The Swedish Forest Industries Federation already represents a biobased circular economy. Our sustainably used forests provide renewable raw materials that are repeatedly recycled in the manufacture of goods and the production of energy. No part of any one of our trees goes unused. Our residues and by-products are used either within the forestry sector or in other industries. This sort of circular economy is currently an issue high on the EU’s agenda.
The possibilities that circular economy offers for greater competitiveness and environmental sustainability should receive even greater emphasis in the development of a European circular economy.
In our industry, circularity is partly a question of using both fresh and recycled fibre in a constant cycle. We are of the opinion that legislators must regard fresh fibre and recycled fibre as two equally valuable raw materials. Other member countries do not have the same insight or understanding that fresh fibre is an essential element in the availability and use of recycled fibre.
The Nordic countries are largely responsible for the fresh fibre flow in the EU. Fresh fibre is exported in several waves to the European market and finally becomes bioenergy.
The EU commission is currently working on an action plan and changes to three directives that have links to circular economy. In the proposal that has been circulated for comment, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation has highlighted that the directives need clarification as regards reuse and recycling of packaging. The commission is proposing raised recycling targets. This is positive. However, there has to be a clearly stated definition of various materials that are to be recycled. Recycling calculation formulas must also be clear.
Within the circular economy framework, one current question is which system is most suitable for collecting the materials to be recycled. It is being discussed both in Sweden and in the EU. The Swedish Forest Industries Federation would like to maintain producer's liability for Sweden. We feel that, where an entity is responsible for recycling costs, it should have the opportunity to control system design.