Finland Among World Leaders in Paper Recovery

Oct. 12, 2006 - About 70% of the paper consumed in Finland is recovered, says the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. This is a top result in international comparison and an excellent achievement for a sparsely populated country with long distances, which makes the organizing of paper recovery expensive, says FFIF.

The importance of recovering and recycling paper for industrial purposes has been increasing steadily over the past 15 years. ďAll of the recycled fiber available in Finland is used here, but, because of our population base and consumption volumes, fiber use does not reach Central European levels," says Fredrik Blomfelt, Senior Advisor, Environment, Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The forest industry in Finland uses some 750,000 tonnes of recovered paper as raw material annually. This equals about 5% of its raw material fiber requirement. The small share of recycled fiber is explained by the fact that over 90% of the paper produced in Finland is exported and subsequently recovered primarily in Central Europe, which is the largest market area for the Finnish forest industry.

In the U.S. in 2005, a record 51.5 percent of the paper consumed (51.3 million tons) was recovered for recycling

It is important to note that wood fiber cannot be recycled indefinitely. According to Blomfelt, recycled fiber only tolerates some 3-5 use cycles of re-use. This means that some new fiber from paper that has not been recycled must always be added to the mix.

SOURCE: Finnish Forest Industries Federation, AF&PA

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