Finns increasingly avid paper recyclers

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The waste paper recovery rate reached new records in Finland in 2013. Up to 80 per cent of paper and paperboard consumed in Finland was recycled.

Industry recycles all recovered paper. Most of it is used to manufacture new paper products, such as newsprint and catalogue paper as well as paperboard and tissue. A few per cent is used as insulation and for other purposes.

“Even though paper consumption has decreased compared to previous years, paper recycling volumes have remained almost unchanged. This suggests that Finns are increasingly conscientious about sorting and recycling their paper and paperboard waste”, says Tiina Vuoristo, Manager of Paper, board and converted products at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Europeans best in the world

Europeans are the most avid recyclers of paper. The paper recycling rate in Europe last year was 71.7 per cent. It was 70 per cent already in 2012 while the global recycling rate was less than 60 per cent.

Europe’s recycling rate has improved by 45 per cent since 1998, which is when the European paper industry together with players in the recycling sector set the first voluntary targets to improve the paper recycling rate.

The volume of recovered and recycled paper has remained unchanged in Europe despite the drop in paper consumption. In the coming years, it will become difficult to maintain these figures, as the decline especially in the consumption of printed media reduces the amount of paper that ends up in recycling.

Growth in the consumption of hygiene paper products is picking up pace but the paper grades in question are not recyclable. In total, 21 per cent of paper consumed is not suitable for recycling.