Since 2000, the European paper value chain has been committed to the two-fold aim of improving recycling and increasing efforts to remove obstacles hampering paper recycling in Europe. In 2016, the signatories of the European Declaration on Paper Recycling declared their commitment to reach a 74% paper recycling rate by 2020.
In 2020, 73.9% of all paper and board consumed in Europe was recycled. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, among other factors, less paper and board was consumed and collected for recycling. The collection of paper for recycling decreased by 2.6% compared to 2019 and reached 56 million tonnes. Paper and board consumption decreased more heavily compared to 2019 and reached 75.8 million tonnes. The recycling rate therefore increased from 72.5% in 2019 to 73.9% in 2020. In absolute figures, compared to the base year of the Declaration (2015), the amount of paper and board collected and recycled decreased by 3.1 million tonnes.
Europe continues to be the world champion in paper recycling followed by North America. The recycling rates of other world regions are improving, but from lower levels. In Europe, paper fibres are used 3.8 times on average in 2020, while the world average is 2.4 times.
The latest information relating to paper recycling can be found in the European Paper Recycling Councils Monitoring Report 2020.
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