Paper and board including cartonboard achieved a recycling rate of 78% in 2010. It’s the most recycled packaging material in Europe, according to CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) calculations using Eurostat data. This latest data continues an upward trend from 63.8% achieved in 2000 and 73.3% achieved in 2005, and far exceeds the 60% target set by the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
When folding cartons are discarded after use, the best option
for the environment is to divert them from landfills through recycling. Cartons
can be collected and sent to a mill, where they are recycled by reprocessing
which separates the fibers. The recovered fibers are then used to make
cartonboard or another paper or board product. 60% of cartons in Europe are
made from recycled cartonboard.
All paper and board waste arising during manufacturing is
relatively easy to recover, as, for instance, trimmed waste in cartonboard
mills and from carton manufacturers. However, the bulk of paper and board,
especially for packaging, is ultimately dispersed throughout society. The main
sources of paper collection in general are 50% from trade and industry, 40%
from households and 10% from offices.
The highest potential for continuing to increase the amount of
recycling of paper and board products lies with recovery from households.
Realizing this potential, however, depends on the quality of the used paper and
board collection. Separate collection of paper and board from other materials
is encouraged, as it increases the quality of the recovered paper.
Packaging, including cartons, has a major role to play in
resource efficiency by protecting goods and thus conserving more resources than
it uses. In addition, the ability to recover and recycle used cartons at the
end of life of packed products, saves resources.
The cartonboard packaging industry already has a good story to
tell about sustainability as a renewable and recyclable packaging material, and
developing a fuller understanding of the cartonboard packaging industry's
resource usage is now a priority for the industry and its customers.