The EN 643 standard (Paper and board - European list of standard grades of paper and board for recycling) has become a foundation for the trade of paper for recycling (PfR) in Europe and beyond. Potentially, more importantly, it has become a reference for EU and National legislation aimed at further improving paper recycling, calculating recycling rates and, looking to the future, encouraging the growth of the Circular Economy. Such is the importance of EN643, it has become one of the most frequently accessed standards across Europe.

Following the March Meeting of CEN TC172/WG2 (the European Working Group that oversees the development of the EN643 Standard), the European Standards Agency (CEN) has registered a Preliminary Work Item to assess the appetite for a revision of this important standard and to explore what format any potential revision might take.

All European Standards are systematically reviewed on a rolling five-year basis to ensure that the content is both relevant and ‘fit for purpose’. A great deal of time and effort went into the preparation of the current version of EN643 and, although it barely seems possible, five years have passed since this version was published in 2014.

With an ever-growing commitment to the Circular Economy, Sustainability and even greater levels of Recycling, no one should underestimate the importance of EN643 as this defines grades of paper and board for recycling (PfR) intended to be recycled as a raw material in the manufacture of paper and board products. This European Standard also specifies moisture content, unwanted materials and prohibited materials alongside the composition of standard recognised grades.

EN643 touches upon a wide range of interested parties throughout the paper recycling loop and it is important that as many as possible are involved in the assessment of the need for a revision and have the opportunity to contribute.

Over the next few months, members of all European National Standards Bodies will be actively seeking comments from those involved and these will be presented and discussed at a meeting of CEN TC172/WG2 in Brussels on 24th June 2019.

In the UK, comments from UK-based stakeholders should be channelled through CPI (Simon Weston – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and PITA (Barry Read – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to the UK National Mirror Committee (PAI/11), who will then present the comments at the meeting in Brussels.

If you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to contact either of the above.