Making the grade
As Europe prepares itself for the implementation of separate recycling collections to boost recyclate quality, Owen Dowsett looks at the different grades of paper, and why they’re important
The paper recycling industry is one of the greatest success stories in the UK’s resource use sector. The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) estimates that of the 11.6 million tonnes of paper and board used in 2012, around 8.1 million tonnes were collected for recycling (either within the UK or abroad). At just over 70 per cent, this figure is approaching the upper limit of collectable and recyclable material – generally thought to be around 81 per cent of the paper consumed. High rates of recycling mean that papermakers are less dependent on virgin wood pulp; in fact, the ‘urban forest’ of recovered paper contributes almost three quarters of the total fibre required for manufacturing new paper and cardboard.