Posted on 05/11/2008 in category Textiles




Brussels,5 November 2008

BIRAutumn Round-Table Sessions

Düsseldorf,30-31 October 2008



Marketsdisturbed through disrespect of contractual agreements

Asin many of the other commodity sessions in Düsseldorf, failures tocomply with contractual agreements were highlighted at the BIRTextiles Round-Table. Honorary President Klaus Löwer ofGermany-based Hans Löwer Recycling GmbH insisted: “People need toadhere to contracts. Compromises must be found. Unethical behaviourultimately leads to a dead end.”

Turninghis attention to market developments in the USA, Mr Löwer said thereis no lack of originals but sorters are “still complaining of pricelevels that are too high”; meanwhile, a significant proportion ofUS sorting capacity has shifted to other countries such as Canada andMexico. And in Asia, Japanese sorters are also worried about the highprice of originals while insufficient collection volumes have beenprompting South Korea to import non-sorted textiles from Japan,reported Mr Löwer.

Pricesof originals have been holding relatively stable in recent monthsdespite high stocks and lower demand, observed Olaf Rintsch ofGermany-based Textil Recycling K&A Wenkhaus GmbH in hisEuropeanmarket report. At the same time, autumn collection volumes “haveremained within the normal averages of recent years”. Wipers arecontinuing to sell quite well but at lower prices, whereas thefeathers market has become “a lost cause” as prices continue tosink, according to the President of the BIR Textiles Division.

AlanWheeler of the Textile Recycling Association reported that the priceof original second-hand clothing in the UK has continued to increasesteadily since the previous BIR Convention in early June. Hiscountry’s annual exports of used clothing surged from around200,000 tonnes five years ago to 305,000 tonnes in 2007, withparticularly strong growth in shipments to Poland and the Ukraine.

TheRound-Table in Düsseldorf also provided an opportunity for MehdiZerroug of Framimex to update delegates on the progress of theproposal to introduce an “eco-levy” on new clothing in France.The decree covering the formation of an eco-body was signed in Juneand - “in theory” - this organisation should be created some timein 2009. Funds are already being collected and work is currentlyfocusing on devising a system for monitoring those companiesperforming the upgrading operations, he noted.

Theguest presentation from Tilman Baehr from Hamburg’s Department ofTransfrontier Shipments of Waste underlined that the EU’s new WasteFramework Directive positions recycling above other forms of recovery(eg energy recovery) in the hierarchy of options for dealing withmaterials designated as “waste”.

Specificallyin relation to waste shipments, he acknowledged the recyclingindustry’s deep concerns over the threat to commercialconfidentiality posed by Annex VII document requirements. Mr Baehralso agreed that sorted textiles placed in containers and exported toanother country for subsequent sale should be considered productsrather than waste because they meet the criterion of satisfying ademand without inflicting damage on the environment.

Ina related subject, Mr Rintsch reiterated his belief that an item ofclothing placed in a collection bank should not be deemed to be a“waste” given that the person donating it intends for it to beput to further use.