Packaging International News - April 2012

Paper Packaging Recycling Hits New EU High

Posted by Paul Fiddian - Packaging International's Lead Reporter on 30/04/2012 - 16:30:00

EU Paper Recycling

Newly-released data from CEPI (the Confederation of European Paper Industries) highlights how, within the EU, paper's recycled more often than other type of packaging material.

Based on figures from 2010, the confederation states that, in 78 per cent of instances, it's paper that's given a new lease of life and says, of the situation, that it ‘contributes positively to the European objective of resource efficiency.' To put paper's 78 per cent recycling rate into context, during the same year, 64 per cent of aluminium was recycled and the same was true for 71 per cent of steel packaging and 68 per cent of glass.

Two decades ago, EC (European Commission) officials outlined a vision for a packaging-based environmental standard. This was later adopted as Directive 94/62/EC, covering packaging and packaging waste, which calls for 60 per cent of paper to be recycled.

EU Paper Recycling

That 60 per cent EU paper recycling figure was actually attained in 1997, so paper recycling has now moved on considerably, having reaching 63.8 per cent in 2000 and 73.3 per cent five years after that.

"Through high recycling rates, the European paper industry is a leading example on how sustainability and competitiveness can go hand in hand", the Director General of CEPI, Teresa Presas, explained in a press release. "But in the forthcoming revision of the European packaging directive, it will be important to consider the level playing field between different packaging materials.

Paper Packaging Recycling

She continued: "Currently, each material has a different recycling target rate ranging from 15% to 60%. In addition, it is time to consider the essential role smart packaging plays in a resource-efficient Europe. Packaging can prevent waste of goods and spillage of food in particular."

Based in Brussels, CEPI has a 19-nation membership and represents well over 500 paper, pulp and board production firms, or approximately 25 per cent of the global paper industry. It emphasised in its paper packaging recycling release that it considered its calculations accurate, when accounting for the paper packaging content of goods imported into the EU.

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