European Recovered Paper Council

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Paper recycling

The paper industry has been recycling for over 600 years. As environmental awareness has grown, the ease with which paper can be recycled is an increasingly valued attribute. Recycling is ecologically and economically sound and recovered paper is a vital raw material for paper production.

Over the past 15 years the paper recycling capacity in Europe has doubled as a result of the significant investment by the paper industries in its recycling capacity. Since 2000, the growth in the paper recycling rate has been three times that of total paper consumption.

The paper industry is the largest recycler in Europe. Recovered fibres are particularly suited for applications such as newsprint and packaging. Innovation in recycling technology means that some fine papers can also be based on recycled fibres. However, for some "higher quality" publication paper and some packaging applications only top quality recovered paper, which is not available in large quantities, can be used.

Europe is the global leader in paper recycling:

  • 90% of newspapers are printed on recycled paper
  • 90% of corrugated boxes are made of recycled fibre
  • 72% of consumed paper is sent for recycling
  • 54% of the fibres used in new paper and board are sourced from recovered paper