THE “URBAN FOREST”, THE RECYCLING
Once used, paper products enter the recycling circuit and thus optimise the use of a natural and renewable resource like wood and close the paper cycle.
Of the 135 kilograms of paper that on average each Spaniard consumes in a year, 71% (96 kilos) is collected for recycling in paper mills. That makes a total in 2014 of 4,439,300 tonnes collected for recycling, which constitute what is called the «urban forest». In Spain, the development of paper and board collection systems is a clear case of collective success: the collaboration between the authorities and the industry and the active and increasing citizen participation has made possible that we collect for recycling more than double volume of paper and board than 15 years ago.
Spain is a recognised leader in paper and board recycling. In 2014, Spanish paper mills recycled 5,052,900 tonnes of recycled paper and board. The only country to exceed that recycling volume in the entire European Union is Germany.
Our paper industry’s recycling capacity guarantees that all paper and board collected in Spain is recycled, thus closing the cycle in our country. In fact, in 2014, 4.4 million tonnes were collected and our industry recycled more than 5 million tonnes. 70% of the paper for recycling used in 2014 by the Spanish paper industry was locally sourced and the remaining 30% was imported from neighbouring countries.
Recycling – consubstantial with papermaking – is a key player on the road towards the circular economy in which the paper industry in Spain is immersed and is therefore one of the fundamental pillars of the sector’s sustainability strategy. The paper industry advocates a new policy for raw materials that involves all stakeholders in the virtuous circle of recycling, from the citizen, through government and industry and paper and board recovery firms to the paper mills where final recycling is carried out.
ASPAPEL promotes paper and board collection and recycling with its Tu Papel 21 programme, a system of evaluation, assessment and certification of paper and board collection for local authorities, currently involving more than 130, of which 30 have already been certified.