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Reaction to criticism of imported scrap from paper manufacturers

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Noting that there is currently a paper production capacity of 6.1 million tons with current investments in Turkey, Sükan stated that 1.1 million tons of this is cellulose production and 5 million tons of it is scrap paper production capacity. Stating that 4 million tons of paper is produced from scrap paper with the existing investments, Sükan stated that the branch uses 3.8 million tons of domestic scrap paper and 1.2 million tons of imported scrap paper.


Reminding that 70 percent of scrap paper is collected in Turkey, which is close to the level of developed countries, Sükan said that all of the scrap paper collected in Turkey is essentially bought by the department, but imports are made in order to use the capacity , and a production of 1 million tons is again made. he noted that its capacity was not used. Emphasizing that the need for scrap paper will increase with the implementation of the planned investments, Sükan also underlined that in the current system, paper mills can import scrap paper at a rate of 50 percent of their capacity, but that imports are not made at this rate. Sükan emphasized that the export of scrap paper is completely free in this situation.


According to TUIK information, 400 thousand tons of scrap paper was imported in the first 3 months of 2022, while the cost of this import was 98 million dollars. The amount of scrap paper imported as newsprint in a one-to-one period was 18 thousand tons, and the cost of this import was calculated as 5 million dollars.

Sükan, who also rejected the arguments of the printing department that ‘it is sold cheaply due to imports, the printers waste it’ for scrap paper, which is around 10 percent, said, “We buy from European vendors, we pay the freight on it, we bring it. The price we give to that scrap is exactly the same as the price we give to domestic scrap. It is wrong to expect domestic scrap to be more valuable. We buy scrap paper collected under ordinary conditions in Turkey. But this branch is not enough. Companies with a capacity of 1 million stepped in last year. We imported 1.2 million scrap paper so that there would be approximately 85% capacity utilization”.


Defending that there is a segment in Turkey that wants to reduce supply and increase prices, Sükan continued as follows: “The printing sector works with a maximum of 10 percent waste. The sad thing is that the printing press, which is the addressee of the finished product price at these high prices, says, ‘I have scrap paper, let me sell it to a higher value if it is not imported. If the price of this scrap rises, the price of the product used by the printing press will also rise. However, we give the same price to the domestic scrap as we give to the imported scrap, but it does not satisfy. In 1-2 years, prices rose so much that while a ton of scrap paper was 1000 liras, it increased to 3 thousand liras. Also, since the supply of domestic scrap is low, there is competition inside, it is sold by auction.”


Pointing out the problems in the scrap paper collection mechanism, Erdal Sükan drew attention to the size, quality and value of the collection cost of the collected paper. Sükan said, “We are currently collecting packaging paper back in European averages, that is, at a rate of 70 percent…. However, there is a high cost due to our collection system. There are street collectors, there are middlemen. There are people who do this illegally. We spend a lot of money on the logistics of this business while collecting. It turns out that at this point, by using the sanction power of the municipality, the scrap paper is collected in houses, that is at the source, and the paper collected differently is taken and classified, ensuring separations that increase the added cost of the scrap, and presenting it to the branch by baling by auction, both the quality of the scrap is increased and the cost is kept under control. Thus, with a mechanism in which channels are active, the system runs more healthily.” Emphasizing that the paper department is one of the most critical sections, Sükan said, “The value of our branch is that it is a branch that serves all departments. And since exports are made with paper-based packaging, our indirect exports are very high. When we look at the direct foreign trade data of the sector, we imported 800 thousand tons of paper and cardboard in the first three months of the year, while we exported 350 thousand tons.

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