It is a general fact of knowledge of paper for recycling that wood is a very central resource for paper manufacturing. But many forests are suffering from the global demand for this raw material. It is therefore increasingly important that existing paper for recycling is utilised consistently, and that the proportion of recycled paper is further increased. What matters today and in future in the paper for recycling market is the subject of the following section on knowledge of paper for recycling, where we explain some of the most important key concepts for you.
Paper for recycling is the collective term for the valuable recycled raw material produced in every household and virtually all businesses in the form of paper, card and cardboard. The processed paper for recycling grades serve as the starting material for paper manufacturing, and are reused in a new and sensible manner through recycling, which protects the climate and the environment.
Collecting, sorting and recycling around two million tons of paper for recycling every year, REMONDIS handles more than a tenth of the total paper for recycling generated in Germany. For the associated tasks, we maintain logistics and plants at a total of 126 locations. In eleven modern sorting plants around Germany, various grades of paper for recycling are separately processed. REMONDIS thus also makes a significant contribution to resource and climate protection in the field of paper for recycling.
Accounting for over 70 percent, paper for recycling has become the most important raw material in paper and cardboard manufacturing. Until a few years ago, paper for recycling was available in almost unlimited quantities as a raw material. This has fundamentally changed. Paper for recycling has become a product in very high demand, because wood as a primary resource is becoming increasingly scarce.
Sustainability is our core business at REMONDIS. By increasingly closing material cycles, we are reducing the consumption of primary materials. This contributes to saving natural resources, and is simultaneously an important step towards raw material supply reliability, because natural stocks are in short supply. We bring paper for recycling back to the production cycle as a high-quality raw material. In the context of the sustainability principle, REMONDIS processes around 2 million tons of paper for recycling annually, and thus supports the paper industry in saving over 7 million tons of wood per year. We additionally offer our customers in business and industry the seamless documentation of the savings of primary raw materials, energy and greenhouse gas emissions achieved in waste and residual material management, with our sustainability certificate.
Around 15.2 million tons of paper for recycling were collected in Germany in 2015, which represents a paper for recycling recovery rate of over 70 percent. In many countries in Europe, there is still significant potential for increasing quantities of paper for recycling collected. This requires politicians to set high recycling targets throughout Europe, so that corresponding investments can be made in the collection and sorting infrastructure.
Around 16.8 million tons of paper for recycling were used in Germany in 2015. This amounts to more than 200 kg per capita. Globally, we anticipate an increase in paper for recycling consumption from around 350 million tons to as much as 440 million tons of paper per year.
The paper fibres of paper for recycling can typically be recycled up to six times. This reduces the pressure on tree populations. For new paper from primary fibres, many trees need to be sacrificed, and one in every five trees cut down worldwide is used for paper manufacturing. The results are dwindling tree populations and increasing forestry monocultures with low resistance to pests and adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, the manufacturing of recycled paper uses up to 60 percent less energy and up to 70 percent less water. This additionally creates significantly less CO2, waste and emissions. The burden on wastewater systems is also up to ten times less than for primary fibre paper.
In paper for recycling treatment, the first process is the pulping of the paper for recycling. This is done in a treatment plant, where water and chemicals are added to convert it into a suspension, while simultaneously removing the coarsest contaminants. The paper for recycling pulp then passes through a wide range of cleaning and sorting systems, in order to remove not only the coarse contaminants but also the finer ones. The next step is the drainage process using various screens. When the drainage is completed, the paper for recycling material has passed through the basic stages of treatment. Depending on the paper for recycling grade, there are then additional stages such as printing colour removal and bleaching for light-coloured grades, and dispersing as required.
Paper, card and cardboard are collected and partially sorted and/or compacted into bales.
The paper for recycling is fed into a pulper in a paper factory, where it is pulped together with added water and chemicals.
Coarse and fine contaminants are removed.
The fibre pulp produced is drained, so that new paper can then be manufactured from it on a paper mill.
The new paper produced is turned into raw paper rolls.
The raw paper rolls can be used to manufacture new products, e.g. newspapers, cardboard boxes or envelopes.