Paper Packaging Is Recycled More Than Any Other Material
Demand for sustainable packaging has never been greater. Paper packaging is not only the most recycled packaging material in Europe, it also utilises an exceptionally high amount of recycled material in its production.
European consumers now have far greater knowledge of the value and provenance of the raw materials used in everyday packaging. Suppliers and the wider packaging industry are working hard to develop solutions that extend the life cycle of packaging materials, helping to eliminate the use of non-recyclable, single-use packaging.
In 2018, the European paper and cardboard recycling rate was 83% – the highest of any packaging material.
Paper and cardboard is the most recycled packaging material in Europe. In 2018, 82.9% of all paper and cardboard was recycled, outperforming metallic packaging (80.1%), glass packaging (74.7%) and far exceeding that of plastic packaging
Looking back at the progress made since 1998 – the base year for the first voluntary commitment set in the European Declaration on Paper Recycling – paper recycling has increased by 40% (16 million tonnes).
Thanks to its leading recycling rate and developed collection systems, paper packaging production in Europe utilises an exceptional amount of recycled content.
94% of the fibre used to produce corrugated board in Europe comes from paper for recycling. Carton board utilises 35% paper for recycling.
In Europe, paper fibres are recycled and re-used
3.8 times on average. However, laboratory experiments have shown fibres can be recycled significantly more, up to 25 times. Developing efficiencies in recycling processes, improving collection systems and increasing consumer action may one day help realise this potential.
Even with such a high recycling rate, the fibre-based packaging value chain remains focused on improving this further.
The European paper packaging industry aims to reach an ambitious recycling rate of 90% by 2030.
4evergreen, the cross-value chain alliance initiated by CEPI, has set an ambitious recycling target, to reach a 90% recycling rate for fibre-based packaging by 2030.
To reach this goal, 4evergreen has identified four intermediary targets to be met by 2025:
1. Industry adopts 4evergreen’s recyclability evaluation protocol and its circularity by design guidelines for fibre-based packaging.
2. Separate collection streams are available for all fibre-based packaging types, including those used in household, out-of-home and on-the go consumption.
3. All paper for recycling is sorted according to the different paper and board categories specified in the EN643 standard.
4. All collected fibre-based packaging, specifically from household, out-of home and on-the-go consumption, is recycled.
Learn more: www.4evergreenforum.eu