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Paper recycling rate approaches 72% in Europe

Europe – Europe’s paper recycling rate was 71.7% last year, according to a statement from the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC). The total amount of paper collected and recycled remained stable at just over 57 million tonnes ‘despite decreasing paper consumption in Europe’, it adds.

Recycling has increased by 45% or 18 million tonnes since 1998, the base year for the first voluntary commitment set in the European Declaration on Paper Recycling. In 2013, 13 European countries exceeded a 70% recycling rate; of the 11 European countries below 60%, eight significantly improved their performance compared to 2012.

However, the paper recycling rate ‘is starting to level out’ and ‘keeping it at a high rate is becoming progressively more challenging’, the ERPC notes. Its chairwoman Beatrice Klose comments: ‘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. Despite challenging circumstances, paper recycling has continued to perform consistently well.’

The ERPC reiterates that 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’.

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