Production of recovered fibre fell in 2019, BIR says  

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has revealed that worldwide, production of recovered fibre fell from just over 250 million tonnes in 2018 to less than 244 million tonnes in 2019.

The global production of paper and board using recovered fibres “held steady” in 2019

This was while global production of paper and board using recovered fibres “held steady” at just below 211 million tonnes.

The findings were reported in the second edition of the BIR Paper Divisions analysis of global statistics relating to the recovered fibre industry, “Paper and board recycling in 2019: Overview of world statistics”.

Asia produced almost half of all the paper and board using recovered fibres, while Europe achieved a recovered fibre incorporation rate average of almost 55%.


The UK had the second highest fibre production rate in Europe in 2019 at 7.35 million tonnes, which was down 2.5% compared to 2018.

The UK was also one of the largest exporters of recovered paper in 2019, with a figure of 4.33 million tonnes.

This came above the other large exporters which where the Netherlands on 2.58 million tonnes, Germany on 2.50 million tonnes, France on 2.43 million tonnes, Italy on 1.82 million tonnes and Poland on 1 million tonnes.


The report worked by analysing production and utilisation of recovered fibre and major international trade flows, as well as key pulp and paper and board market information.

Based on data compiled with the assistance of the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), RISI and CEPI, experts within the BIR Paper Division also made a number of reasoned calculations to “quantify the fundamental role of recycled fibre as an environmentally beneficial component of global paper and board production”.

‘Significant outlets’

Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, president of BIR’s paper division said: “2019 brought an increase in the proportion of the world’s paper and board that was made from recovered fibre – from 50.27% in 2018 to 51.15% the following year.”

“Despite its increasingly stringent import restrictions, China remained the world’s leading recovered fibre importer in 2019. Of particular note, Europe shipped more recovered fibre to India in 2019 than it did to China – a development that none of us would have anticipated only a handful of years ago.”

The 2019 data also underline significant emerging outlets for recovered fibre, notably Vietnam, as well as the continued strong market presence of other, more established buyers in Asia such as India and Indonesia.”


Leave a Reply

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top