Exports drive increase in waste paper collection

There was little change in the UK's recycling rate for paper and board last year, according to data from the Confederation of Paper Industries.

The recycling rate - the proportion of recovered fibre in the paper and board consumed in the UK - has remained at around 37% since 1999. Last year it rose by 0.2 percentage points to 36.5%.

Although there was a significant increase in the amount of waste paper and board collected last year, there was only a slight increase in the recycling rate and the utilisation rate - which compares the amount of collected waste paper used by UK mills against UK paper consumption.

This was because much of the extra waste paper that was collected was exported, particularly to China. In addition, three UK mills that made corrugated cardboard from waste paper - Papermarc's at Burnley, BPB's at Purfleet and Mondi's at Bolton - have closed down since late 2003, with the loss of a combined capacity of 350,000 tonnes of board.

This cancelled out the 22% increase in the use of old newspapers and magazines to 1.5 million tonnes, largely due to the new de-inking line at UPM-Kymmene's newsprint mill at Shotton (ENDS Report 352, pp 27-30 ).