Global Forest and Paper Industry Releases Policy Statement on Paper Recycling

WASHINGTON – The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) released its policy statement on paper recycling. The statement was approved at the ICFPA’s annual meeting held on May 5th in Washington, D.C.

“Forest and paper associations around the world recognize the importance of paper recovery for recycling,” said outgoing ICFPA President Donna Harman. “With this policy statement, we are encouraging national governments to pursue best practices to enable recovered fiber to find its highest end-use.”

The global paper recycling rate stands at about 58%. Some developed countries have achieved as high as 70 to 75%. Many developing countries are establishing infrastructure to help improve paper recycling rates.

The statement calls for educating citizens on the importance of recycling, allowing the marketplace to determine recovered fiber’s best end-use, and ensuring functioning waste markets while respecting national contexts and systems. The ICFPA believes that extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems “should not be a preferred choice where existing markets for collections and reuse of recovered paper are efficient and effective.”

“We are proud to say that South Africa’s paper recycling rate stands at 64% of recoverable paper, higher than the global average,” says Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa).

Apart from diversion from landfill and the recovery of recyclable fibre and other substrates for re-use, the spin-off of recycling is job creation. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 people benefit from collecting recyclables, particularly in the informal sector.

The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (Prasa), which is allied to Pamsa, continually seeks to advance the sector through its entrepreneurship training programme, awareness campaigns and school curriculum project.

The ICFPA’s statement is the latest in a series of policy statements underwritten by its members associations. All ICFPA policy statements are available at icfpa.org/resource-centre/statements.

The ICFPA represents more than 30 national and regional forest and paper associations around the world. Together, ICFPA members represent over 90 percent of global paper production and half of global wood production.

For more information about the sustainability of the global forest and paper industry, visit icfpa.org.