The recycling rate - the proportion of recovered fibre in the paper and board consumed in the UK - has been stuck at around 37% since 1999 (ENDS Report 340, p 21 ). Last year it dropped to 36.3% (see table).
Although the amount of waste paper collected continued to rise, reaching 6.377 million tonnes, much of the increase was absorbed by imports, which continue to rise significantly. In contrast, the amount of waste paper used in the UK has gradually dropped since 2000, reaching 4.53 million tonnes last year.
As a result while the collection rate, which compares the amount of waste paper collected in the UK against consumption, has risen from 41.1% in 2000 to 51.1% in 2003, the utilisation rate, which compares the amount of collected waste paper used by UK mills against UK paper consumption, has dropped from 73.9% to 72.8% over the same period.
However, the recycling rate should rise if UPM-Kymmene's new mill at Shotton reaches full production. This would increase domestic demand for waste paper by some 320,000 tonnes per year. Full production is expected in April (ENDS Report 343, p 20 ).