Industry launches ambitious paper recycling target for Europe

October 5, 2006

Brussels, 04 Oct 2006

The paper industry has set a new recycling target of 66 per cent, to be reached by 2010. The signatories will award priority to waste prevention, improving the recyclability of products, and the quality of recycled paper, and will turn to research and development (R&D) in order to meet the target. A total of 46.6 million tonnes of paper and board were recycled in Europe in 2005, and more than half of the paper used in Europe today is now made from recovered paper. An initial 'European Declaration on Paper Recovery' launched in 2000 pushed Europe's recycling rate to 55.4 per cent. The new declaration not only raises the bar to 66 per cent, but covers more European countries and more organisations.

The theoretical maximum recycling rate for paper is 81 per cent rather than 100 per cent on account of paper that cannot be recycled, such as archives and libraries, and papers used in construction materials.

In order to further improve the recyclability and de-inkability of paper and board products, parties to the declaration will encourage R&D in areas such as:
- paper and board manufacturing processes;
- raw and auxiliary materials;
- converting/printing technology;
- recovered paper processing technology;
- management and recycling of residues as a means of increasing the eco-efficiency of recycling and reducing environmental impacts.

'Paper and board already boast the highest recovery and recycling rates of materials in Europe. Even so, we are striving to do better,' said Kevin Bradley, President of the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC). 'The industry also has an important role to play in helping Europe meet the European Commission's goal of a 'recycling economy', supporting Europe's sustainable development as well as assuring long-term, robust growth and employment.'

Signatories and supporters will also take action to provide information that will help educate and raise awareness of consumers and public bodies about their respective roles in completing the paper loop.

Europe is by far the global leader in paper recycling - the American Forest and Paper Association has set itself a recycling target of 55 per cent for 2012, which includes experts for recycling in Asia.Further information:

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