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European Federation of Envelope Manufacturers AISBL


Facts on the sustainability of paper and paper products

Enhancing the sustainability is one of the most important challenges for the envelope manufacturer and supplier members of FEPE.

Regarding the sustainability of the paper and print industry, many misperceptions exist, suggesting that the paper industry is responsible for mass deforestation, uses a lot of energy and has an adverse impact on the environment.

In fact, we have a positive story to tell about paper, which is renewable and recyclable, stores CO2 and produces energy:

  • The area of forests in Europe has increased by almost 13 million hectares (roughly the size of Greece) in the past 15 years, mainly due to planting of new forests and natural expansion of forests onto former agricultural land. 
  • European forest coverage is increasing by 1.5 million football pitches every year – an area four times the size of London
  • In northern Europe, where almost all ancient forests are protected, paper comes from managed semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled. For each tree that is logged for paper production, at least two new ones are planted
  • 98% of all European forests are covered by a management plan and most are certified – mainly by FSC and PEFC schemes, the most known eco-labels.
  • Forests are part of the cycle that removes CO2 from the atmosphere. This extends from trees to wood and paper products, which continue to store the carbon through their lifetime and help to reduce climate change.
    - Paper products are recyclable and renewable, meaning that the lifecycle is extended and waste is reduced.
  • The pulp and paper industry is a huge bio-energy driver in Europe: 52% of the energy used in the industry is biomass based. 27% of the total production of biomass-based energy in the EU comes from the paper industry by burning wood and waste materials from the pulping process. 
  • The recycling rates for paper increased to over 70% in Europe.

Overall, forestry, paper and paper converting (incl packaging) are among the most sustainable and progressive  industries in Europe.

FEPE, in cooperation with Two Sides, has developed a booklet on the "Myths & Facts" of Print and Paper. To receive a paper copy of the booklet, please contact the FEPE Secretariat (info@fepe.org)

For further facts and figures you can visit the website of the Two Sides organisation www.twosides.info


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