European Recovered Paper Council



Towards a common goal of sustainability - the European Declaration on Paper Recycling

The third European Declaration on Paper Recycling was adopted in September 2011. In the European Declaration the industry pledges to take actions to further improve its environmental performance and increase the recycling rate to 70%* by 2010.

In practice, this translates to groundbreaking research and development, significant investments in new capacities, a focus on quality and responsible sourcing, and on raising public awareness.

Several factors exist, which can help increase or limit the recycling level.

Favouring factors:

  • Separate collection of used paper.
  • Increasing use of recovered paper in paper manufacturing. For example, mostly new newsprint and containerboard investments are based on recovered paper.
  • General opinion favours an increase in recovered paper collection and recycling.
  • Recovered paper exports to countries outside Europe are expected to increase.
  • Collection activity and volumes in new EU countries, Bulgaria and Romania are expected to grow fast due to low level at present.
  • Increasing rotation speed of collected paper.
  • Active industry role to increase collection activity (educational campaigns, developing collection and sorting practices, technical research, quality management, etc)
  • Wider participation of the paper recycling chain in the European Declaration on Paper Recycling.

Limiting factors:

  • In some countries recovered paper collection has already reached a high, and further growth is unavoidably slow.
  • Possible increase in incineration and recovered paper use for energy production (high energy prices and subventions).
  • Other uses for recovered paper are not visible in statistical data and such data is not even available.
  • Inefficient collection and sorting practices lead to deteriorated quality and unsuitability of the recovered paper for recycling.

*A corridor of ±1.5% around the recycling rate has been introduced to adjust to the fluctuations of the international paper market. Paper and board consumption, for example, is something that the paper industry cannot influence.