European paper recycling shows healthy increase

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has released its report for 2000, showing that recovered paper production has grown fractionally more than the rate for the manufacture of other paper.

The new annual survey from CEPI, an NGO which represents the interests of the European pulp and paper industry, shows that utilisation of recovered paper rose by 6% in 2000 to more than 41 million tonnes in 18 European countries, namely the EU (minus Greece and Luxembourg), Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This compared with a 5.7% increase in graphic paper production to 45.6 million tonnes, a 5.8% increase in packaging paper production to 41.1 million tonnes and a 5.6% increase in woodpulp for papermaking production to 40.8 million tonnes in the 1,074 paper mills and 220 pulp mills surveyed.

The overall recycling rate stood at 49.8%, a 0.9% increase from the 1999 level, and looks encouraging for CEPI and the Association of European Recovered Paper Collectors and Merchants to meet a voluntary commitment to raise recycling to 56% by 2005. “We are still on the way to achieving the target,” a CEPI spokesperson told edie.. “Of course it could be higher, but it is not an easy target to meet and gets harder and harder as the rate becomes higher. We need extra actions and investment to further increase collection and recovery.” Recovered paper made up 46.5% of fibre raw materials in 2000, while the collection rate rose marginally to 52%.

However, overall more paper is being produced than ever before with CEPI member countries producing just over 90 million tonnes of paper and board, outstripping the US for the first time. The trend of paper and board consumption has been found to track closely changes to GDP and this affect was evident in the results for 2000, the organisation says, with consumption of paper and board rising by 4.3% in 2000, an increase of 3.5 million tonnes to 84.1 million tonnes.

The CEPI spokesperson also pointed out the continuing big differences in recovery performance between nations, with countries such as Austria (with a 97% recovery rate), Sweden (79%), Slovakia (75.5%) and even Germany (58%), finding it “very difficult” to achieve further increases. “We cannot expect very high increases from places like Germany as their collection rate is already very high – however other countries need to import recovered paper as their collection rates are so low,” the spokesperson said. The laggards of the 18 nations are Ireland, with only a 10% recycling rate, Belgium (19%) and Denmark (29%).

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