Paper construction sacks made from 100% recycled paper by Alier.

Spain and Alier Lead a New European Alliance to Promote the Circular Economy for Kraft Paper Sacks and Other Construction Materials

Author/Alier — 25 June 2024 news

Spain Leads a New European Alliance to Promote the Circular Economy for Kraft Paper Sacks and Other Construction Materials

The construction sector has a significant global impact, both through the direct consumption of natural resources for material production and the waste generated during the construction process. In Spain, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), waste produced by the construction sector accounts for more than 30% of the total waste generated in the country, with a recovery rate barely reaching 48%.

For instance, according to Eurosac, the construction sector in Spain alone consumes 29,000 tons of packaging sacks annually out of a total of 63,000 tons of paper sacks placed on the Spanish market. These sacks have high recyclability potential, but the majority are not currently being recycled.

This situation occurs due to several reasons:

  • Perception or belief that used sacks are difficult and complex to recycle.
  • High contamination of the sacks from leftover materials, creating greater resistance within traditional paper recycling chains.
  • Lack of a firmly established segregation and collection system for waste at the production site or construction site.
  • Insufficient segregation systems and processes, causing the majority of sack waste to be geographically dispersed and mixed with other types of waste.
  • Lack of standardization in the classification and characterization criteria for paper sack waste during recovery and treatment phases.
  • Lack of awareness and specific training in waste management within the sector.

For these reasons, at Alier we are part of an alliance of 12 European companies currently working together to achieve full circularity in the recycling of paper sacks and other materials used in construction, promoting efficient industrial waste management.

We share our vision of encouraging and being open to all SCRAPs that are making great efforts, like Cartón Circular, to join the alliance. SCRAPs (Extended Producer Responsibility Collective Systems) are key tools for fostering proper waste management and promoting the circular economy among companies. In Spain, they operate as collective systems to improve waste management and advance towards a circular economy model.

Matias Cowper, Engineer and Head of our unit specializing in 100% recycled sacks and bags, emphasizes: “It is essential for both the industry and society to meet goals that go beyond those set at the European level, in order to combat global warming and promote a more sustainable society. Only through collective efforts can we achieve this. We are excited about this project and encourage other companies to join us, which is encouraging for the entire industry.”

Together with the other companies in this alliance—Neinor Homes, OHLA, Saint Gobain-Spain, Mondi Group (the precursor of the alliance), Uder, Grupo Arpada, Macotran, RCD Asociación, S. SOLIS, Alier, Envalora, and CoCircular—we are part of a pioneering initiative that addresses the need to reduce the use of raw materials, reuse materials, optimize recycling, and adopt best practices for selective waste collection in the construction sector. In collaboration with the leading associations in the kraft paper sack industry, Eurosac and CEPI Eurokraft, we will continue working towards a common goal and dedicating all our efforts to it.

At Alier, we are confident that this initiative will have a positive impact on the industry’s business model. We extend an open invitation to all companies in the sector, as well as to interested associations and entities, to join us in this effort


news 25 June 2024
25 June 2024
Integrantes de la alianza para fomentar la economía circular

More information about the alliance:

Commitments of the Alliance

The goal is to achieve a sustainable balance between the environmental and economic aspects of waste generated by the construction industry. The initiative promotes actions that will facilitate the recycling of paper sacks and other construction materials that are currently not valorized in large quantities (such as gypsum, insulation, plastic packaging, etc.). Through 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 every stage. The companies act as a network of partners, each contributing their expertise to the value chain, all with the aim of making a significant impact. Their commitment also aims to inspire other collaborators to join and unite efforts.

What does the establishment of this alliance signify?

This working group with all value chain collaborators is formed to achieve circularity of sacks through efficient industrial-scale management, creating an optimal circular chain that maximizes the recovery and reuse of materials from the construction industry. The companies mentioned earlier form a network of partners with a common objective: to significantly reduce environmental impact and promote circularity.

Why is this alliance important?

This alliance highlights the importance of collective action across the entire value chain to generate a real impact. Through a shared vision, entities collaborate with determination, pooling resources to achieve a more significant impact. Their commitment focuses on actively promoting the initiative and encouraging other stakeholders to join, acknowledging current challenges.

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