Closing the gaps on the circular economy in Europe? Export data reveals a widening rift.
Market data has shed light on the creeping trend to export paper for recycling outside of Europe rather than effectively recycling it in Europe in sustainable manner. The latest reports demonstrate a 7.1 % increase in export in 2015 which is equivalent to as much as 679,000 tonnes of paper sent for recycling outside Europe, a worrying development if not put in reverse. Annually around 10m tonnes of paper for recycling leave Europe.
It has been estimated that keeping this material stream in Europe to feed our industry could create up to 140,000 jobs. The increasing export of valuable paper for recycling presents a clear gap in Europe’s circular economy ambitions. This shows that effective regulation is needed to ensure recycling is done both inside and outside Europe at equivalent environmental standards and that we effectively measure what is recycled in Europe and avoid encouraging alternative means for meeting objectives under the circular economy package.
Let’s keep paper recycled in Europe for Europe to truly make the circular economy a reality.
For a more in-depth insight into key statistics on the European pulp and paper industry, check out CEPI’s statistical booklet here or contact Ariane Crevecoeur at or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 35