Paper - Sustainable and renewable

It is very much in the Industry’s interest that trees and forests be used sustainably and remain available as a raw material for future generations.

Since the 19th century, wood pulp from trees gradually replaced other sources of fibre used for paper-making, such as straw, grasses and rags. However, since the 1950s, UK papermakers have steadily increased their use of recovered paper so that now over 70% of the fibres used to make paper in the UK come from paper collected for recycling. The rest come mainly from virgin wood fibre from trees grown in sustainably managed and certified forests. This makes good economic and environmental sense in the densely populated but under forested UK. Only 12% of UK land is forested compared to 37% for Europe and 31% worldwide.

Of the timber extracted in the UK, less than 5% is used in paper and pulp production too (around 11% worldwide 1). This timber is lower grade conifer logs and forest thinnings (immature trees extracted from the forest to enable those remaining to grow to healthy maturity). Higher grade timber is generally used by other industries such as construction and furniture making. Sawmill residues, such as wood chips, are also used as raw material for the Paper Industry.

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