More old paper goes for export, as PNEB beats its recovery world record

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Exports of old newsprint for recycling increased by a fifth last year, despite a tiny increase in the world-leading recycling rate.

A report by the Publishers National Environment Bureau shows that 78.7 per cent of all

Australian newsprint was recovered in 2010, a rise of 0.7 per cent on 2009. The average recycling rate for newsprint in Europe is 68.9 per cent.

Executive director Lillias Bovell says the industry was pleased with the continued increases, seeing public recognition as fair reward for more than one decade of solid


Figures were prepared for PNEB by IndustryEdge with the help of News Limited’s Tony  Wilkins, who had previously undertaken the work.

While the long-term trend in improving recovery rates continued, there were changes in the sector that influenced the rate of recovery. Exports rose again to reach 224,507 tonnes – after falling dramatically in 2009 from a marginally higher level – due to weaker demand and lower prices internationally, and more old newsprint being used for insulation.

The volume of unrecovered newsprint fell by 2.5 per cent to 146,966, while newsprint consumption increased to 688,689 after a 12.6 per cent fall the previous year.

The report says that while there has been no national legislation enforcing recovery rates, the record recovery rate “is a remarkable achievement that is taken as a benchmark for other developed countries to aspire to.

“Even though over the longer term the consumption of newsprint has been in decline, and therefore there has been a fall in the volume of material available for recovery, there is as strong a desire to recover and utilise old newsprint in a number of different recycling processes.

“However, there is no doubt a major end use of recovered newsprint (32.6 per cent) is in the supply of exports, where demand for the fibre, while showing some volatility between years, has achieved a positive trend.”

Volumes directed into paperboard fell in Queensland, partly because of natural disasters.

Lillias Bovell says Australia’s old newsprint recovery programme is the world’s best: “That’s what the figures show. The industry’s very long term commitment to proper stewardship of our resources is really showing the way for other industries.

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