An increase of recovered paper collected in the UK points to a higher recycling rate. However, less paper entered the UK waste stream in 2011.
The UK achieved an apparent recycling rate of 78.7 per cent in 2011 up from 75.1 per cent in 2010, according to statistics published by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI). While the rise did reflect an increase in the amount of recovered paper collected, it was the decrease in the consumption of paper products which was the major driver in the seeming improvement: The use of paper and board products dropped by 4.2 per cent from 2010 to 2011, while collection volumes inched only 0.4 per cent higher than they had been in the previous year.
"With lower volumes available for collection, and only a modest increase in tonnage collected for recycling from existing sources, ensuring recycling performance is maintained in future will mean additional sources will be required, " cautioned CPI's Recovered Paper Sector Manager Stuart Pohler. "This will have a significant knock-on effect for cost and quality control for collectors, and may become increasingly difficult if demand from global paper mills falls; further suppressing collectors-income,” he added.
Compliance with the European Recovered Paper Council's (ERPC) voluntary European Declaration on Paper Recycling (2011-2015) requires that current recycling levels be maintained in countries which had already achieved levels of 70 per cent or higher.