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Paper Recycling Levels



The level of recycling waste paper, sometimes called recovered paper, relies on several factors. Pulp that has just been made from trees contains virgin fibers, also known as primary fibers. Pulp made from waste paper contains recycled or secondary fibers. Several factors affect the aquisition of recovered fiber(i.e. recycling):
  • Rate of Collection -- Widely used but inaccurate measurement. This figure approximates apparent national consumption of waste paper, but sometimes does not account for information such as net exports, exports that undergo changes(e.g.laminates, wrapping paper), and the amount of unrecoverable paper grades produced(e.g. tissue paper, pizza boxes, napkins).


  • National Waste Paper Consumption -- This is the amount of recycled paper recovered nationally plus the number of imports minus the amount of waste apaper that is exported.

    Image: Trade Flows of Recovered Paper Worldwide
    (Click above image for larger version)


  • Utilization Rate -- This figure reflects the amount of utilization out of the amount of recycled paper that is produced in a country.


All of these factors do not account for any impurities(e.g. non-fiber materials, water content, contraries) that are present in waste paper. The following table is given as a comparison of recovery and utilization rates(1999 figures) for various countries:

Country
Recovery Rate(%)
Utilization Rate(%)
Netherlands
76
74
Germany
73
61
South Korea
70
79
Sweden
60
18
Japan
56
55
Austrailia
51
78
Hong Kong(1997)
46
100
USA
44
38
Canada
43
25
UK
41
72
Brazil
38
35
China
32
46
New Zealand
16
2

{Pulp & Paper International, Annual Review, July 2000}

When one takes into account specific grades of waste paper, recovery rates can be found to be signifigantly higher, especially areas of high population density where collection of recycled paper is less difficult. As an example, it is predicted that ONP(old newspaper) recovery rates in the United States will be 75% by 2005{Moore, B. Recovered paper supply impacts on recycle newsprint production. Preprints of 5th research Fourm on Recycling, Ottawa, Sept 1999, pg. 75}.