New 74% paper recycling target set for 2020


The European paper recycling sector has set itself a goal of recycling 74% of the material by 2020.

Although it believes it reached a theoretical maximum recycling rate of 71.5% in 2015, the paper industry believes it can go further if certain changes are made.


EPRC secretary and CEPI raw materials director Ulrich Leberle said: “Having already achieved an effective recycling rate of 71.5%, the European paper recycling value chain is willing to go a step further with a new 74% target.

“This elevated rate will play an integral role in boosting the circularity of Europe’s economy.”

Further steps will also be made to enhance the quality of paper recycling with greater emphasis on recyclability in design and manufacturing of paper products and improving techniques for removing ink from paper products.

In order to achieve this rate, the European paper recycling sector would like to see a number of key conditions put in place:  

  • On waste targets, there should be a landfill ban on recycled paper in place by 2020 and the Waste Hierarchy should be implemented with energy and renewable energy policies taken into full consideration.
  • The EU should ensure that conditions are in place to allow for effective separate collection of paper and take action against countries where commingled collection is practised. 
  • Exports of paper for recycling outside the EU should be curtailed and aligned in a manner that an increase in the collection of paper is higher than an increase in the net trade of paper for recycling.
  • European and national authorities should avoid conflicting product-related policies that prevent paper being from being recycled.
  • The current practice in which Member States calculate their recycling rates based on different methods should cease in favour of an aligned EU-wide method, allowing for comparable and real calculation.