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Demand for recycled paper to exceed pulp supply by 1.5 million tonnes in 2018

    Global – The market for recycled paper packaging will witness growth of 5%, reaching US$ 139 billion this year, according to a new report published by Smithers Pira. Paper packaging is the largest sector, accounting for some 65% of all recycled packaging, it points out.

    Demand for paper packaging will continue to grow in large part thanks to the manufacturing economies of China and of other emerging countries.

    Smithers Pira analysts estimate that annual demand for recycled paper will exceed supply by 1.5 million tonnes of recycled pulp by 2018.

    How much is recovered?

    Recovered paper accounts for 37% of US pulp supply, the report reveals. Paper and paperboard recovery in the USA and Canada has increased by 81% since 1990, leading to recycling rates of, respectively, 70% and 80% in these two countries.

    At the same time, Europe has recorded an average recycling rate of 75% for paper, with countries such as Belgium and Austria achieving up to 90% while many other countries in Western Europe, including the UK, are at around 80%. On the other hand, Eastern Europe and the rest of the world are still lagging some way behind in terms of paper recovery owing to an inadequate recycling infrastructure.

    Drivers are: e-commerce and exports The surge in packaging used for shipping products, combined with growing consumerism in China, is leading to a rapid increase in paper packaging demand. This has been growing at 6.5% per annum in China since 2008, meaning that the country’s growth rate is far higher than anywhere else in the world.

    Containerboard packaging represents the largest market for recycled paper packaging. Around 30% of the paper and paperboard recovered in the USA is used to produce containerboard.

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