Paper recycling up 50% in 1990s

Paper recycling has increased by more than 50% since the early nineties according to the latest figures released by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).


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A record 36.7 million tonnes of recovered paper was consumed by the paper manufacturing industry in 1998 for the production of new paper. This represents a 5.5% increase since 1997.

In relative terms, the collection and recycling of paper in Western Europe amounted to 49.4% of total paper consumption in 1998. The collection of paper increased in nearly every country in Western Europe with the largest increases taking place in the countries that currently present the lowest collection levels. As for recovered paper utilisation, more paper was recycled by all sectors of the industry – and the biggest relative increments took place in the production of newsprint and case materials.

There are a number of reasons for the dramatic increase in paper recycling in Europe, says CEPI. Economic reasons are at the heart, as the recycling of paper has offered companies a competitive advantage in many areas of Europe. To this can be added the recent boost from political support and social commitment to recycling, especially with the increasing participation in separate collection systems.

The continuous development of new technologies has also provided for new uses for collected material which, when coupled with a competitive industry and a sustained increase in paper consumption, has enabled the necessary investments to be made, thereby resulting in the current positive performance levels.

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