European paper recycling rate close to 72% in 2012
Total amount of paper collected and recycled in the paper sector remains stable at just under 58 million t.
The European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) reported a 71.7% paper recycling rate for the year 2012 across the countries where its members are active. Altogether, 13 European countries reached a recycling rate of over 70% last year, while the number of countries where less than 60% were recycled decreased from 12 to 10 compared to 2011, the organisation announced yesterday.
In 2012, the amount of paper collected and recycled was virtually unchanged from the prior year at 58 million t, ERPC said. A share of 9.4 million t or 16% of the total 58 million t was recycled in third countries, "outside the commitment region of EU-27 plus Norway and Switzerland." This showed a slight increase compared to 2011, when 9.2 million t were exported from the ERPC region for recycling. The number of times a paper fibre is collected and recycled showed a slight increase from 3.4 in 2011 to 3.5 in 2012; the world-wide average stood at 2.4.
According to ERPC, the 2012 monitoring report revealed a remarkable achievement by ERPC members, considering that "since the pre-crisis peak year of 2007, paper consumption in Europe has dropped by 13% whereas recycling decreased by only 3.5%. The current paper consumption is at the level of 1998 but the recycled amount is 1.5 times higher than in 1998 - before the industry's commitment to paper recycling."