Use of recycled material in European paper production fell in 2019

Paper mill

Latest data from the Confederation of Paper Industries (CEPI) shows that use of recycled fibre in European paper production fell by 0.4% in 2019 compared to 2018.

The preliminary data from 18 member nations including UK, Germany France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and other European countries shows that 48.6 million tonnes of recycled paper was used in 2019 for paper production.


This means 96% of European paper is recycled domestically. It also found that exports of paper fell by 10% last year.

Overall paper and board production fell by 3.0% last year compared to 2018 to a total of 89.5 million tonnes. This is the first time it has fallen below 90 million tonnes since 2009.

CEPI noted that China, US, Japan, Korea and Canada recorded production decline between -2% and -4%. Despite growth in India, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, global paper production is still estimated to have fallen by around 2.0% in 2019.

In Europe, graphic grade production fell by 8.0%. Newsprint fell by 8.0% and writing papers by 8.9%.

Output of coated mechanical paper and uncoated mechanical paper fell by 9.7% and 10% respectively. Copy paper decreased by 4.1%.

In packaging grades, case materials such as transport packaging and corrugated boxes were the only one to see an increase rising by 1.4%.

Carton board and other packaging board production fell by 1.3%.

These falls reflect that overall consumption of paper and board in CEPI countries in 2019 decreased by around 4% compared to 2018. According to CEPI, this was caused by a declining European economy with growth slowing to 1.5% in 2019 from 2.2% in 2018.

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