UK's Paper Recycling Rate Increased by Nearly 5% in 2011

UK collection of used recovered paper in 2011 was just over 8 million tonnes.

March 22, 2012 - The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) said that the UK's 2011 paper recycling rate increased by nearly 5% compared to 2010.

According to figures released by the CPI, the rise from 75.1% in 2010 to 78.7% in 2011 ensures that the UK surpasses the target set in the revised "European Declaration on Paper Recycling (2011-2015)" to "...maintain current high levels in countries where it already reached levels of above 70%".

However, CPI sounded a note of caution by highlighting that the rise in the recycling rate could be attributed more to a decrease in paper consumption than a significant increase in the amount of paper collected for recycling.

Stuart Pohler, CPI Recovered Paper Sector Manager, said, "Whilst the increase in the recycling rate is welcomed in principle, it is important to qualify the apparent performance improvement. UK collection of used recovered paper in 2011 was just over 8 million tonnes — an increase of 0.4% on 2010 — whereas consumption of paper and board products which entered the UK waste stream reduced by 4.2% compared to 2010."

"With lower volumes available for collection, and only a modest increase in tonnage collected for recycling from existing sources, ensuring recycling performance is maintained in future will mean additional sources will be required. This will have a significant knock-on effect for cost and quality control for collectors, and may become increasingly difficult if demand from global paper mills falls; further suppressing collectors income."

CPI said the formula used to calculate the 2011 UK recycling rate follows guidelines set out by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). However, limited data exists for imports of paper packaging around goods imported to the UK for consumption, and is not deemed reliable enough to include in calculations.

SOURCE: Confederation of Paper Industries