European paper recycling rate falls as export markets tighten

The European paper recycling rate has fallen from 72.4 per cent to 71.6 per cent in 2018, largely due to a sizeable fall in exports of paper for recycling, most notably to Asia, according to the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).

In its latest update on the state of the European paper and pulp market for 2018, CEPI (which represents paper and board trade associations from 17 European countries) revealed that exports of paper for recycling had fallen by 6.1 per cent to 9.97 million tonnes in 2018, down from 10.6 million tonnes in 2017.

This was largely accounted for by a 7.4 per cent drop in exports of paper for recycling to Asia, which receives 88.3 per cent of all European exports of paper for recycling. Exports to Asia fell from 9.5 million tonnes to 8.8 million tonnes in 2018, something that can partly be attributed to China’s decision to ban the import of 24 grades of solid waste, including unsorted mixed papers, at the start of 2018. Several other Asian countries have since followed suit and imposed their own trade restrictions.