25 Jun.2014

Paper recycling in Europe at 71.7% - A reliable performance secures access to valuable raw material

The paper recycling rate in Europe reached 71.7% in 2013. The total amount of paper collected and recycled in the European paper sector remains stable at just over 57 million tonnes, despite decreasing paper consumption in Europe.

Recycling has increased by 45% (18 million tonnes) since 1998, the base year for the first voluntary commitment set in the European Declaration on Paper Recycling by the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC).

The European paper recycling rate is starting to level out and keeping it at a high rate is becoming progressively more challenging. Not only are quantities changing but so are the different paper consumption patterns.

The continuing sharp decline in newspaper consumption will significantly affect overall paper recycling levels, as newspapers are traditionally one of the best recycled paper products along with corrugated boxes. Conversely, tissue and sanitary paper consumption is increasing but cannot be accepted for recycling due to hygiene reasons. Overall, 21% of paper consumption is not recyclable or collectable.

The large majority of the 11 European countries currently still under a 60% recycling rate have reported an improved performance. In parallel, 13 European countries have already exceeded the targeted 70% recycling rate. Paper fibre is now recycled an average of 3.5 times in Europe, far exceeding the world-wide average of 2.4.

“Making recycling easy and simple year after year requires a huge effort by the paper value chain, and we are pleased to report the positive results”, says ERPC chairwoman Beatrice Klose. “Despite challenging circumstances, paper recycling has continued to perform consistently well”, she concludes.

Secure access to raw materials has become an increasingly strategic economic issue in Europe. Paper recycling is truly an industry “made in Europe”. In line with EU policies, this industry should be properly safeguarded to remain so. The paper recycling sector is ready and able to add more green jobs, skills and innovations to the European circular economy.


For more information, please contact the ERPC Secretariat, Jori Ringman, at +32 2 627 49 19, +32 478 255070 (gsm), or visit

Notes to Editor:

• 2013 ERPC Monitoring Report:
• The European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) 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 2011, the ERPC committed itself to meeting and maintaining both a voluntary recycling rate target of 70% in the EU-27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2015 as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign, and research and development.
• Members of ERPC are ACE, CEPI, CITPA, EMFA, ERPA, ETS, INGEDE, INTERGRAF, FEPE. Supporters include the EuPIA, FINAT, RADTECH Europe. The European Commission, DG Environment and DG Enterprise, are permanent observers of the ERPC.

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25 Jun.2014

ERPC 2013 Monitoring report

The recycling rate in Europe reached 71.7% in 2013.
The total amount of paper collected and recycled in the paper sector remains stable at just over 57 million tonnes, despite the decreasing consumption of paper in Europe. Recycling has increased by 45% (18 million tonnes) since 1998, the base year for the first voluntary commitment set in the European Declaration on Paper Recycling. In strong contrast, consumption has dropped back to the 1998 level of 80 million tonnes. A net volume of 8.3 million tonnes (14%) of the total 57 million tonnes was bought by third countries for recycling outside the commitment region of EU-27 plus Norway and Switzerland.

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01 Apr.2014

Think before you shred - a poster

We’ve all shredded pieces of paper before throwing them in the recycling bin, sometimes simply as a habit. What a lot of us do not know is that shredding shortens paper fibres. Why is that bad?, you might ask. The answer is simple. The longer the fibre, the more valuable the paper is for the recycling process.


When it comes to what should and shouldn’t be shredded, keep this in mind: if the paper has sensitive information on it, shred it; if not, don’t. The European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) has recently published a new poster illustrating this principle.

The poster shows two different groups of documents falling into a recycling bin or a shredder. In the ‘recycling group’ you can find books, magazines, office paper and cards, while the ‘shredder group’ includes examples such as investment transactions, accountancy and medical records, tax forms, credit card statements and pay slips.

Since 2000, the European paper value chain has joined efforts to improve recycling in Europe via the ERPC. You can help them achieve their goal. Before shredding your paper, think about whether you need to shred it. You will be serving the environment and contributing to reducing waste, pollution and climate change, while saving office costs.

“Think before you shred”’ follows last year’s very successful “Paper Recycling in the Office” guidance and is based on an example by the American Forest & Paper Association. The ERPC plans to distribute the poster also to European Commission employees as well as to the newly elected European Parliament members in September.




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14 Feb.2014

Landfill and incineration restriction for recyclable paper

Increase the availability of paper for recycling in the EU

• As part of the Waste Target review, the paper industry proposes an EU-wide ban on landfilling/incineration of recyclable paper by 2020.
• Current EU paper recycling performance could increase by 10 million tonnes of paper and board if diverted from landfilling and incineration. Theoretically this incremental volume could result in a paper recycling rate of about 80% (71.7% was achieved in 2012).
• The policy context in the EU supports the notion of diverting recyclable materials from landfilling and incineration to recycling. However, without a legal requirement,local authorities do not always make recycling a priority for these streams. The paper industry is committed to supporting them in doing so.


In 2012, about 78.5 million tonnes of paper were consumed in Europe (EU-27). Of this volume, 56 million tonnes were recycled. An estimated volume of 10 million tonnes of paper and board, potentially useful for recycling, is currently going into incineration or landfill. The industry sees this as a valuable source of material that could be put back into the production cycle – increasing the current EU recycling rate significantly – but needs legal support to enable this because waste management decisions are mostly made by local authorities. The paper industry is committed to supporting local authorities in improving the collection of paper for recycling.

Increasing the availability of paper for recycling will have a positive effect on job and value creation in the EU, both in the waste management sector as well as in the processing industries. An extra 10 million tonnes would result in a paper recycling rate of about 80% (71.7% in 2012).

A ban in landfill will bring about a coherent implementation of EU policy
European Commission communications emphasise that a resource-efficient Europe needs to turn its own waste into a resource so as to decrease its dependence on imports of raw materials, reduce the impacts on the environment and generate economic opportunities.

The Waste Framework Directive includes a waste hierarchy which clearly prioritises recycling over energy recovery and disposal. One of the key conclusions of the European Commission’s report on the Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste1 is that ‘’Significant margin for progress still exists beyond the current EU minimum collection and recycling targets’’. ‘’[An] optimal combination of economic and legal instruments should be promoted notably through landfill bans and by applying the producer responsibility concept to additional waste streams on the basis of a common European approach’’.

The Road Map for a Resource Efficient Europe foresees: ‘’By 2020, waste [will be] managed as a resource’’. ‘’Energy recovery is limited to non-recyclable materials, landfilling is virtually eliminated and high quality recycling is ensured’’. Europe needs to step up its efforts so as to achieve this milestone for all recyclable materials by 2020.

CEPI believes that recyclable paper presents a material source for which the above milestone can be realistically met by 2020 at the latest. A specific ban on landfilling/incineration of recyclable paper could mark the first concrete step towards the elimination of incineration/landfilling of all recyclable materials by 2020 or at a later date where appropriate.

For more information, please contact Mr. Jori Ringman-Beck at (, mobile n°: +32 478 255 070.

1 European Commission, 2011. Report from the Commission on the Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste. COM(2011) 13 final, p 9


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12 Dec.2013

CEPI Guidance for revised EN643 published

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) launched a pocket-size guidance document that details the changes in the revised EN643 European List of Standard Grades of Paper and Board for Recycling. The association also announced that they will organise a webinar on the EN643 revision on 19 December 2013.

CEPI advises all organisations and individuals involved in trade with paper and board for recycling, to prepare for the introduction of the updated standard. Many multinational companies are already implementing the new EN643 standard into their IT-systems, such as SAP. The new text includes several major improvements, including a grade-specific tolerance level for non-paper component and more detailed descriptions per grade.

CEPI issued a guidance describing the changes in the updated EN643, whilst national standardisation bodies in Europe are preparing for the official launch early 2014. The guidance was first presented at European Paper Week in English, but will soon be available in German, French, Spanish and Polish. Other languages may follow at a later stage.
Paper industry experts will be available for question and answers at a webinar organised by CEPI on 19 December 2013 at 10 am. During the webinar CEPI staff will describe the changes in the EN643 standard in detail and will allow for enough time to answer all queries.


For more information, please contact Daniela Haiduc at, mobile: +32(0)473 562 936

Note to the Editor
Download EN643 guidance at



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