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 2021, the signatories of the European Declaration on Paper Recycling declared their commitment to reach a 76% paper recycling rate by 2030. The new European Declaration on Paper Recycling 2021-2030 was published on 29 June 2022.
In 2021, 71.4% of all paper and board consumed in Europe was recycled. Both consumption of new paper and board and collection of Paper for Recycling (PfR) have increased. The consumption of paper and board has strongly recovered after the lifting of many pandemic-related restrictions. It reached a level higher than in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
With regard to the collection of PfR, there has also been growth, but collection levels recovered more slowly. As a result, the recycling rate slightly decreased in 2021 compared to 2020. The full effect of this high increase in paper and board consumption on collection levels may only become visible in the 2022 figures. Nevertheless, the use of PfR continued growing thanks to important investments in new recycling capacities in Europe, indicating an overall continuous increase in paper recycling in Europe.
For the commitment period of 2021-2030 the recycling rate calculations will be independently verified by Deloitte.
More information: European Paper Recycling Council