Posted on 26/01/2009 in category Paper




Brussels,26 January 2009

Recyclingstill in demand

Marketexperts urge European public to carry on recycling paper

Reportssuggesting thatEurope’s recovered paper has become virtually unsaleable are not atrue reflection of current market conditions. Many industry and localauthority experts have confirmed that there is still a paramount needfor the public to continue - and even to intensify - its paperrecycling efforts, the global recycling federation, the Bureau ofInternational Recycling, has insisted.

Worldprices forrecovered paper tumbled to very low levels in October and Novemberlast year as a reflection of the early impact of the global economicdownturn - but subsequently, prices have climbed steadily to moresustainable levels. Volumes of recovered paper have continued to beshipped both to domestic customers and into the export market. “Atno point did the purchased volumes of recovered paper fall as sharplyas prices,” explained Ranjit Baxi, President of the BIR’s PaperDivision and Managing Director of UK-based J & H SalesInternational. “What happened recently in the recovered papermarket was a direct consequence of the sudden global economicdownturn.”

Withthis world economicdownturn leading to a reduction in the volume of paper and boardproducts bought by the public, there is a danger of less materialcoming forward for collection and recycling. “It is vital thatcollections are maintained and that the public continues to pursueits love affair with recycling - otherwise, in the longer term, wecould be facing a shortage of the recovered paper on which theworld’s paper and board industry has come to depend,” warned MrBaxi.

Globally,more than 200million tonnes of recovered paper is used annually in the productionof around 400 million tonnes of new paper and board. And while theeconomies of developed countries/regions such as the USA and the EUare expected to contract in 2009, key recovered paper consumingnations such as China and India are still expecting GDP growth toexceed 6% this year. From the global perspective, therefore, demandfor recovered paper will remain considerable - if perhaps slightlybelow the levels of last year. In 2008, Chinese paper mills aloneimported approaching 25 million tonnes of recovered paper; continueddemand from China will ensure that this figure does not fallsubstantially in 2009.

Somemedia reports havealleged that massive quantities of recovered paper are enteringstorage because there is no longer any market for the material.However, statistics indicate that the vast majority of localauthorities are storing recyclable materials for no longer thannormal. The material that has required storage is generally of alower quality for which there is a limited demand from the world’spaper and board producers.

MrBaxi commented:“Quality is already an important issue and will become even morevital in the future. The recycling industry has made huge investmentsover many decades in increasingly sophisticated processing equipmentso as to be capable of providing the world’s paper mills with thequality of recovered paper they require to make new, higher-qualitypaper products that their customers now demand.”

Andhe added: “If, asexpected, global demand for recovered paper remains close to - oreven exceeds - previous levels in the near future, there should beabsolutely no need to put good-quality recovered paper into storage.”

Continuedrecycling ofpaper and other materials makes sense not only commercially but alsoenvironmentally. Through the recycling of paper and six leadingmetals, emissions of the leading greenhouse gas - carbon dioxide -are reduced by a minimum of 550 million tonnes per annum, accordingto preliminary research conducted by Imperial College in London. Thisfigure is equivalent to almost 2% of worldwide fossil fuel emissions- a fact which has prompted leading climate change expert LordNicholas Stern of Brentford to describe the recycling industry asenvironmental “heroes”.

Furtherstudies havesuggested that, for every tonne of paper produced, recycling saves0.85 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. This would mean that paperrecycling alone cuts global CO2 emissions by some 170 million tonnesper year. Furthermore, with continued advances in recycling and inpapermaking technology, the world’s paper mills are able tomanufacture ever-finer and lighter-weight paper without loss ofquality, meaning more paper products available on the market for thesame tonnage.


Publicenthusiasm forrecycling has been built over many years; huge numbers of people nowrecognise that, through recycling, they are making a valuablecontribution to the conservation of natural resources and to theminimisation of greenhouse gas emissions. “The public’s growinginvolvement in recycling has been a huge success story,” said MrBaxi. “The current economic downturn is temporary and reversiblewhereas discouragement of recycling would pose an irreversible threatto our planet. Recycling is the only way forward.”


Forfurther information please contact the BIR office.

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