European Paper Recycling Awards 2021

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The Winners of the 8th Edition of the European Paper Recycling Awards!

The Awarding Ceremony of the 8th Edition of the European Paper Recycling Awards took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels on 29 June 2022.


The event takes place every two years with the specific goal to highlight and reward European projects, initiatives or campaigns that change the way we recycle paper in Europe and help us achieve our ambitious goal of a 76% paper recycling rate by 2030.

The ceremony awards the winners who have presented excellent and game-changing projects in two categories: Innovative Technologies and R&D and Information & Education.


The winner of the “Innovative Technologies and R&D” category is EnEWA, a research and development project financed by the German Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, is focusing on the optimisation of sorting, cleaning and recycling paper even when it is mixed with other residual household or commercial waste. Awarded in the “Information and Education” category, the CELAB project is a cross-industry initiative to recycle self-adhesive labels.

Jury member and EPRC chairperson Annick Carpentier stated: “The projects or campaigns competing for the awards are all game changers in the way we recycle paper in Europe. They will contribute to achieving our ambitious goal of a 76% paper recycling rate by 2030. This is an ambitious target and every piece of paper and board bringing us closer to it counts!”

The EPRC Secretary and Cepi Raw Materials Director Ulrich Leberle stated: “The recycling rates we have already reached put paper and board as industry frontrunners. Both ongoing initiatives and planned steps will allow us to close the circular economy loop even further. The innovative projects presented yesterday at the EPRC Awards are timely examples of what it will take to get there.”

The European Paper Recycling Award distinguishes between two main categories to ensure a fair comparison among the different entries.

  • Information and Education: We are looking for projects and initiatives that were set up to raise awareness on paper recycling among a specific target group. Examples: a paper recycling school campaign, a municipality awareness-raising programme on sorting paper for recycling etc.
  • Technology Improvement and R&D: This category includes innovative projects to improve paper recycling technology.

Eligible projects, initiatives or campaigns will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance and originality
  • Achievements
  • Possibility to reproduce the project
  • Cost effectiveness

To apply, please click check the Application section.

There are five previous editions of the European Paper Recycling Awards, which take place every 2 years.

Past winners and commended entries include the following:

  • Aalto University and VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) with a new, innovative process for turning paper for recycling and cardboard into textile fibres called Ioncell-F (Finland)
  • Szkoza Podstawowa nr 11a, a primary school in the Tychy region of Poland for their project Literatura za Makulature (Literature for Paper for Recycling) . In order to encourage children to get involved in paper recycling, the school invited famous Polish authors to meet its pupils, paying for their participation with money raised from selling the paper for recycling brought to school by the children. The initiative is unique not only in Tychy but in Poland. (Poland)
  • Ecofolio,  a non-profit organisation that manages the end-of-life-processes of graphic paper products on behalf of the French government. Their winning project was The Modulated Eco-Contribution Scale, an innovative tool to promote recycling by adjusting paper-related eco-contributions paid by paper products editors. (France)
  • The Education project Papier & Karton, a digital school programme developed by and Klasse TV. The programme aims to stimulate recycling, creativity and awareness of the suistainable features of paper and board amongst children of 10 to 12 years of age and to involve children in re-use and recycling of paper and board. (The Netherlands)
  • The project Recycling of Energy and FILLers from Sludge, aiming to provide a sustainable solution for the paper industry’s biggest waste flow: deinking and paper sludge. Project REFILLS was launched by Alucha, a technology company that specialises in advanced recycling solutions for difficult waste streams. In 2014, SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company, joined the project. (The Netherlands)
  • Alcorcen municipality in Spain. Their project improved paper and board collection by distributing paper bins in all schools in the district. The project aims to increase both the amount of paper collected as well as environmental awareness among children. (Spain)
  • Voith Paper GmbH & Co. KG with a new technology called LowEnergyFlotation (LEF). Newly developed injectors are at the heart of the LEF. Together with the modified pumps, they enable energy consumption to be reduced by up to 50% in the flotation. Subsequently, paper mills not only save energy but also achieve significant financial savings. (Germany)
  • EnEWA – Energy savings in paper production by opening up the value chains of recovered paper from lightweight packaging, residual waste and commercial waste by University of Siegen – Chair of International Production Engineering and Management (IPEM)/Germany
  • CELAB Europe – Circular Economy for LABels by FINAT/European project

Photos from the 2015 awards ceremony

Photos from the 2013 awards ceremony

What is the deadline for submitting entries?
The deadline is 8 December 2019.
How are the entries judged?
Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance and originality
  • Achievements
  • Possibility to reproduce the project
  • Cost effectiveness

How do I submit my entry?
Entries must be submitted online using the form linked in the Application tab on this page.
May I submit supporting materials?
Yes, supporting materials can be submitted by uploading them together with your online application form. Alternatively, you can send material to
Is there a fee to submit an entry?
No, there is no fee to enter the European Paper Recycling Awards.
How many awards are distributed?
The ERPC will give one award for each of the following categories:

  • Information and education
  • Technology improvement and R&D

Are foreign-based recycling programs eligible to win the Paper Recycling Awards?
No, only European-based business, community, and school recycling programs are eligible for the European Recycling Awards.