European paper recycling rate hits 72.3%

Cardboard recycling
Cardboard recycling

Data released by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has revealed that Europe’s paper recycling rate has reached a best-ever 72.3%.

This was despite the introduction of restrictions on waste imports introduced by the Chinese Government in 2017.


In 1991, the first year of the statistics, the European recycling rate was just 40.3%.

CEPI’s Key Statistics 2017 document also shows that consumption of paper and board increased by 0.5% in Europe in 2017, while production increased by 1.5%.

Out of a total of 56.8 million tonnes that was collected for recycling, 10.6 million tonnes was exported, with 9.5 million tonnes alone exported to Asia.

From a total of 34.8 million tonnes of packaging papers that were used for recycling, 23,544 tonnes was recycled as corrugated and kraft, while 8,705 was mixed paper.

Of the 5.6 million tonnes of newspapers and magazines that were collected for recycling, almost 5.5 million tonnes of this was recycled as a newspapers and magazines grade.

CEPI director general Sylvain Lhôte said: “The 2017 figures demonstrate that the European pulp and paper industry is achieving a phenomenal turn around. Whether it is production, added value or exports, all key indicators are positive.

“The current level of investment, not seen since 2005, is indicative of industry’s self-confidence and the acceleration of its transformation.”


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