HC Deb 20 November 1952 vol 507 cc2036-7
35. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary for Overseas Trade as representing the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, if he is satisfied with the level of utilisation of waste paper by mills in this country; and what steps, administrative and scientific, are being taken to raise the level.

Mr. Mackeson

The present lower level of utilisation of waste paper arises mainly from the fall in demand for the articles in which it is used as a raw material, but my noble Friend would always welcome any suitable means of increasing its utilisation. It is already used by paper and board mills in making a wide range of products. In particular, packaging boards and the cheaper wrapping papers are made almost wholly of waste paper, while newsprint also contains some. The use of too high a proportion would impair the quality of the finished product which has frequently to compete with the foreign manufactures in both the home and export markets. Methods of increasing its use are more a matter for scientific and technical study than for administrative action.

My noble Friend is, therefore, in touch with the British Paper and Board Makers' Association as to possible ways of increasing the use of waste paper and some of the technical problems involved are now being studied by the British Paper and Board Industry Research Association.

Mr. Shepherd

While thanking my hon. Friend for his very complete answer, may I ask him if he is aware that the percentage of waste now used in the manufacture of newsprint is very much smaller than that used during the war? Is there a possibility of increasing it? Also, is it not regrettable that we have no bleaching process for newsprint, as is used in the United States of America?

Mr. Mackeson

As to the second part of the supplementary question, that is one of the technical points involved. As to the quality of our newsprint, it is very much a matter of opinion whether we want to go back to the war-time standard.