Since 2000, the European paper value chain has been committed to the two-fold aim of increasing recycling and joining efforts to remove obstacles hampering paper recycling in Europe. The signatories of the new European Declaration on Paper Recycling have declared their commitment to reach 74% paper recycling by 2020.
In 2016, 72.5% of all paper consumed in Europe was recycled. Relative to 2015, the collection of paper for recycling increased by 0.9%, reaching 59.5 million tonnes. In parallel, paper
consumption slightly decreased, totalling 82.1 million tonnes. These two factors drove a considerable increase in the recycling rate: from 71.9% in 2015 to 72.5% in 2016.
Significantly, this means collection and recycling of paper has increased by 0.5 million tonnes compared to the base year of the Declaration (2015).
Clearly, an important step has already been taken towards reaching the 2020 target of 74% paper recycling. However, we are now fast approaching our maximum potential, since 22% of paper consumption can neither be collected nor recycled.
Changing consumption patterns are affecting the most recycled paper products. Newspaper consumption continued to decline in 2016. Increased consumption of corrugated boxes, the other most recycled paper product, is only partly compensating the challenge to the overall recycling rate of declining graphic (printing and writing) paper consumption. For the commitment period 2016 to 2020, recycling rate calculations have been independently verified by Deloitte. 2016 also features positive achievements at regional level.
The number of countries with a recycling rate below 60% has further dropped to nine. Equally, 17 countries now have recycling rates exceeding 70%, an increase of three, since 2015. On an international level, Europe continues to be the world champion in paper recycling, followed by North America. Other world regions’ paper recycling rates are improving, but coming from lower levels. In Europe, paper fibres are recycled 3.6 times on average, significantly outperforming the world average of 2.4 times.
While the EU is discussing how to transition to a circular economy, the paper fibre loop can serve as a model for circularity. Paper recycling is an industry ‘Made in Europe’. It prolongs value creation and creates job opportunities in Europe from a renewable, predominantly European resource, wood.
Driving year-on-year improvements in the ease and simplicity of recycling requires a huge effort from the paper value chain. This report details these continuing efforts, underlining the pride in the progress the EPRC has made.
CEPI is one of the signatories of the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) and holds its secretariat.
Read the press release on the EPRC website.
CEPI presented in February 2017 a review of its 2050 roadmap scoping the pathways, transformative investments and policy frameworks required for realising a 80% reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions and a 50% growth in the added-value delivered by the forest-fibres and paper industries in Europe. CEPI’s 2050 roadmap takes into account the emissions from the transport and logistics chain of industry. Emissions are estimated at 5 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015, the equivalent to 1.5 billion litres of diesel and accounts for roughly 10% of overall emission in the forest fibre and paper industry. The 2050 roadmap trajectory implies a GHG emissions reduction by 4 million tonnes in the next 35 years.
Such a reduction will be particularly challenging in the highly complex logistics chain of the forest fibre and paper industry. Indeed, raw materials and product deliveries in the European forest fibre and paper industry total approximately 350 million tonnes and cost 7,5 billion euros annually. Furthermore, the raw material supply chains from forests for raw wood and collection points for recycled paper are more scattered than in many other industries and mostly rely on road transport. In addition, finished products need to be delivered with short lead times to final customers across Europe. As a result, transportation represents a significant share in the cost of our final products and cost-efficient logistics are a central topic for forest fibre and paper companies.
Developed by CEPI members’ transport experts, this paper explores the possible pathways for a cost-efficient reduction of the industry transport and logistics chain emission towards 80% by 2050. It is intended to provide a sector specific illustration of the transport decarbonisation challenges and opportunities, which has now become particularly relevant in the context of the European Union’s debate on low-carbon mobility and its recently launched EU Mobility Package initiatives of 31 May and 8 November 2017.