Paper value chain lives up to its commitment as recycling rate reaches 73.9% in 2020

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The European paper value chain is proud to announce that it reached the trajectory set back in 2016 to achieve 74% recycling in 2020.

73.9% of all paper consumed in Europe was recycled in 2020. Compared to 2019, 2020 brought another strong increase and if we look back 20 years ago, paper recycling even increased by 40%.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis among others, less paper and board was consumed and available for collection last year, while its utilisation in the European Paper industry continued to be strong.

The Covid-19 crisis demonstrated the importance of continued collection to maintain circular economy models such as paper recycling. This was illustrated by the crucial role of paper collection for the production of packaging and hygiene products in the first half of 2020.
Overall, collection of paper and board for recycling reached 56 million tonnes, while the consumption of paper and board decreased to 75.8 million tonnes in the EU27, Norway Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This explains a further increase of the recycling rate.

About the 2020 recycling rate, Annick Carpentier, Director General of ACE and current EPRC chairwoman stated:

Reaching our set 74% paper recycling target shows the paper and board value chain is serious about its understanding as a role model for circularity and will continue to be.

The European Paper Recycling Council is monitoring the development of the European Paper recycling rate and its progress towards the set target of 74% recycling rate by 2020. The European paper recycling rate is defined as the ratio between used paper recycling including net trade of paper for recycling and paper and board consumption. The full monitoring report including action by the EPRC signatories and supporters in the fields of collection, eco-design, research and education is available here.

For further information please contact Ulrich Leberle at or +32 479 905 921

Note to editor:
The European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) was set up as an industry self-initiative in November 2000 to monitor
progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling.
Since then the commitments in the Declaration are renewed every five years. In 2017 the EPRC committed itself to
meeting and maintaining both a voluntary recycling rate target of 74% in the EU27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2020
as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign and research and development. In 2017,
Signatories of the EPRC are ACE, CEPI, CITPA, EMFA, ETS, EuRIC, FEPE, INGEDE and INTERGRAF. Supporters are
Afera, EuPIA, FINAT, FEICA, IRLA and RadTECH Europe. DG Environment and DG Grow of the European Commission
are permanent observers to the EPRC.