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.
IMPACTPapeRec project sends strong Circular Economy message on separate collection of paper at final conference
The two-year Horizon 2020 IMPACTPapeRec project is reaching its final stages this month. To this end, a final conference was organised at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 24 January, hosted by Mayor of Coulaines (France), Christophe Rouillon. The conference successfully brought together more than eighty professionals from the waste management and paper industry, as well as policymakers and municipalities.
It included prominent speakers such as Kestutis Sadauskas, the Director in charge of Circular Economy and Green Growth at the European Commission, as well as Laurent Thieule, Director at the Committee of the Regions, who applauded the project’s practical nature and its “on the ground” applicability for European regions.
The project brought together nineteen partners across the value chain from several European countries including those with low recycling rates such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. The project offered them a unique platform to find ways to increase separate collection of paper in the EU. “This project could not be more timely, as the inter-institutional agreement on the revision of the waste package last December has indeed strengthened separate collection” said Kestutis Sadauskas, adding that “separate collection for high quality recycling is particularly important in light of China’s waste import ban”.
Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) closed the conference by focusing on the project’s major policy recommendations. He highlighted the Commission’s detailed Guidance on the newly strengthened rules on separate collection in the Waste Directive and the need for collection systems to take into account the EN 643 standard. “In the fight against climate change, we only have a window of a few years to optimise waste management and recycling everywhere in Europe” he noted.
Several participants applauded the practical tools that resulted from the project, in particular the “Good and Best Practices Handbook for the collection of paper and board for recycling”. This handbook provides municipalities with practical tools and guidance so that they can improve paper and board collection wherever they are in Europe. A video was prepared explaining this and other tools which can be found on the website.
The final conference was followed by a workshop specifically targeted at municipalities, companies and citizens from countries that were not part of the project. Another workshop for entrepreneurs was also organised to encourage new innovative business ventures in the implementation of innovative solutions for paper collection.
The IMPACTPapeRec project is financed by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme and supports the separate collection of paper commitment of the European Innovation Platform (EIP) on Raw Materials. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690182.
The European paper industry produces from wood a multitude of value-added products such as paper, carboard and other biobased materials and uses its residues for bioenergy.
With today’s vote the EU has sought to recognise the value of sourcing wood sustainably and preventing subsidies that distort markets and encourage the burning of wood for megawatts.
“The European Parliament realises that there is more value to the circular bioeconomy than turning wood into megawatts” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).
MEPs have moved in favour of building upon existing sustainable forest management practices in Europe, the so-called “risk-based approach” rather than rendering the regulatory context more complex. At the same time ensuring that the availability of wood is taken into consideration is also a step in the right direction.
They have also sent a strong signal that the recovery of energy from waste must be strictly guided by the waste hierarchy and that the burning of paper-based material, which can be collected seperately and recycled, should be avoided.
The challenge is now in the hands of the Council to ensure that wood is used sustainably and that REDII remains consistent with the EU’s own goals of making the circular bioeconomy a reality in Europe.
Note to editor:
Guaranteeing that wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests and championing a high-performing recycling chain will be critical to securing the quantity and quality of the raw materials the industry uses as it transitions towards the low-carbon circular bioeconomy. Read more on how we can achieve this in the revised version of our ‘Investment Roadmap’.
For more information, please contact Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 23
For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at email@example.com or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82
"A good deal for making the Circular Economy happen in Europe. The challenge now is to ensure effective implementation and avoid multiplication of derogations at national level" says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European paper industries