Myths Facts

The truth about paper

Paper manufacturers are "dirty factories"
97% of the Spanish paper production is carried out under an Environmental Management System

The factories are environmentally very efficient

97% of the total production of the sector in Spain is carried out under an Environmental Management System (ISO or EMAS).

Energy efficiency

  • Mix of fuels: biomass (32%) and natural gas (65%).
  • The electric energy required to move the machinery and steam to dry the cellulose and paper is produced by the sector in cogeneration plants (1,135 MW of installed power) beside the factories. Cogeneration saves primary energy and reduces emissions. IDAE/ASPAPEL
  • Manufacturing all the paper a Spaniard consumes in one year produces less CO2 emissions than a single journey by car Madrid-Barcelona-Madrid. Facts by ASPAPEL and Pitney Bowes Inc.- The environmental Impact of Mail: A Baseline, 2008

Efficiency in water use

In the paper making process, water is used, it is not consumed. Only 5% of the water used is consumed and the remaining 95% is returned after purification.

Water use in the industrial process has been reduced by 22% since 2000 in total volume and effluent per tonne has decreased by 18% for cellulose and 57% for paper.

Efficiency in waste management in the process

77% of the waste materials in the process are recycled: energy recovery (27%), direct agricultural use (24%) composting (10%), cement industry (2%), ceramics industry (1%), raw materials in other industries (8%).

ASPAPEL: Update 2014 Sustainability Report

Recycling paper saves trees.
Paper wood comes from plantations dedicated exclusively to the manufacture of paper and would not exist otherwise.

The paper macro-sector as a forest based bio-industry, is the key sector of the new bio-economy

Bio-industries such as paper making from natural, renewable raw materials, that manufacture recyclable products with a smaller carbon footprint, are the industries of the future.

Europe  -and  Spain  in  particular-  have  good  weather  conditions  to  grow  wood  and  fallow  areas available due to abandonment of agricultural and husbandry tasks, all along with major development of the paper collection and recycling systems (the urban forest).

As a bio-industry, the paper macro-sector is taking a position as the key sector of the new low-carbon bio-economy, depending on efficient use of renewable, recyclable resources, to manufacture natural products with a large added value.

In the near future -one that work is already being carried out on- the factories in the paper chain shall be wood and recycled fibre based bio-refineries that, making highly efficient use of their raw materials, shall manufacture cellulose, paper and board, bioenergy and biofuels, biocomposites and a whole series of new forestry fibre based products.

CEPI-ASPAPEL Paper invents the future 2013

Paper is not an industry for developed countries
Largest paper producers: China, USA, Japan, Germany and Sweden

44% of the production worldwide is concentrated in Europe, USA and Canada

48% of the world production is concentrated in Europe, USA and Canada, with a clearly upward trend in Asia (China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India and Indonesia).


With 71 industrial plants, among which there are some of the most modern in Europe, Spain is the 6th paper producer and the 5th cellulose producer in the EU, as well as the 2nd largest European paper recycler, just behind Germany.

ASPAPEL: Statistical report 2013

The largest paper producers in the world
1º China
2º USA
3º Japan
4º Germany
5º Sweden
6º Republic of Korea
7º Canada
8º Finland
9º Brazil
10º Indonesia
11º India
12º Italy
13º France
14º Russia
15º Spain