ASPAPEL releases Paper Sustainability Report, highlights 95% of wood, 69% of paper for recycling are of local origin, and industry recycles 78% of paper it uses, already exceeding European voluntary 2030 target; total CO2 emissions down 21% over 10 years

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July 15, 2022 (press release) –

ASPAPEL PRESENTS THE PAPER SUSTAINABILITY REPORT UPDATE

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THE SPANISH PAPER INDUSTRY RECYCLED 78% OF THE PAPER WE CONSUME, ALREADY EXCEEDING THE EUROPEAN VOLUNTARY TARGET SET FOR 2030

MAIN DATA 2021

  • 95% of the wood and 69% of the paper for recycling are of local origin.
  • The plantations for paper represent 5,074 direct jobs and 15,882 indirect jobs in empty Spain.
  • Spanish paper mills have recycled 5,354,800 tons of used paper in 2021, with an increase of 4.4%.
  • We are the second largest recycling country in the EU in terms of volume, surpassed only by Germany.
  • Total CO 2 emissions have been reduced by 21% in the last ten years and those of SOx and NOx by 83% and 40% respectively.
  • The discharge quality indicators are at the highest standards allowed by the Best Available Technologies.

With circularity and decarbonization as environmental action axes of the pulp and paper industry in Spain, achievements and opportunities stand out, such as the fact that paper mills recycle 78% of the paper we consume, such as the promotion of forest management sustainable and its certification, with the result that 65% of the paper placed on the market is certified, or having managed to decouple CO 2 emissions from production, reducing them by 21% in the last decade and having reduced the total use of water in the manufacturing process to less than half since 1990, according to the Paper Sustainability Report Update edited by ASPAPEL.

“The Spanish paper industry, with 10 pulp mills and 69 paper mills, produces all the great varieties of paper —explains Elisabet Alier, president of ASPAPEL— with renewable, recyclable and local raw materials. 95% of the wood and 69% of the paper used for recycling that we use is of local origin. By transforming these local raw materials, we create wealth in our country and contribute to industrial sovereignty, which has proven so important during the pandemic. With the wood plantations for paper, we create employment and wealth in empty Spain”.
 
LOCAL PAPERWOOD PLANTATIONS THAT CREATE EMPLOYMENT AND WEALTH IN EMPTY SPAIN
In 2021, the ten Spanish pulp mills used 5,451,400 m 3 as raw materialof wood to produce 1,777,000 tons of pulp. The total consumption of wood for paper increases in 2021 by 2.2% compared to the previous year.
 
This is wood from fast-growing species (eucalyptus and pine) grown for this purpose in plantations, which are continually regenerating and replanting and would not exist otherwise. The wood used as raw material by the paper industry in Spain comes 95% from these local pine and eucalyptus plantations (and the remaining 5% comes from plantations in other neighboring European countries). In a high and growing percentage (58%), it is also wood with sustainable forest management certification (FSC and/or PEFC).
 
These plantations for paper represent 5,074 direct jobs and 15,882 indirect jobs in empty Spain.
 
RECYCLING RATE OF 78%, TWO POINTS MORE THAN THE VOLUNTARY OBJECTIVE SET AT EUROPEAN LEVEL BY THE SECTOR
After use, paper products are collected for recycling in two ways: municipal selective collection (blue container, door to door commercial and clean points) and the collection carried out by private operators in large distribution areas, industries, printers...
 
Through these two channels, in 2021, 4,403,200 tons of paper and cardboard were collected for recycling, a volume slightly above that of 2020 (0.4%) and already in line with the pre-pandemic collection volume. These data show both the suitability of the Spanish paper and cardboard collection system and the deep roots of the habit of recycling this material in Spanish society.
 
Spanish paper mills have recycled 5,354,800 tons of used paper in 2021, with an increase of 4.4% compared to the previous year. Spain is the second largest recycling country in the EU in terms of volume, surpassed only by Germany and practically tied with Italy. Thanks to this great recycling capacity, the Spanish paper industry guarantees the recycling in our country of all selectively collected paper and cardboard, which meets European quality standards (European standard UNE-EN 643).
 
In fact, the recycling rate in Spain (paper for recycling used as raw material/consumption of paper and cardboard) amounts to 77.6%, already exceeding the European target for 2030 recently set by the European Recycling Council by almost two points. This means that the Spanish paper industry recycled in 2021 almost 78% of the paper that we consume in our country.
 
MANUFACTURING PAPER WITH LESS AND LESS WATER AND RETURNING IT CLEANER
In 2021, the total use of water in Spanish pulp and paper mills is 110 million m3 per year, which is half the water used in 1990, despite production has increased by more than 60% since then. And if we take the last decade as a reference, compared to the 119 million m 3annual 2012, the decrease has been 8%.
 
It is important to point out that in the paper process, use and consumption of water are different concepts: of the total water used in the process, only a small part is actually consumed, which evaporates or is incorporated into the final product. And the rest is returned clean.
 
Thus, of those 110 million m 3 of water used by the Spanish paper industry in 2021, only 15% was actually consumed. The remaining 85% (93 million m 3 ) was returned purified to the receiving environment (rivers or lakes, sea, municipal sewers, estuaries...), after being reused internally as many times as possible.
 
Also over the last decade there has been a significant improvement in the quality of discharges in almost all indicators, which are currently at the highest standards allowed by the Best Available Technologies. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) parameter in 2021 has decreased by 62% compared to 2012 for cellulose and has increased by 14% for paper. Suspended Solids (SST) have decreased by 56% for cellulose and 33% for paper. Finally, Halogenated Organic Compounds (AOX), the specific discharge from the production of bleached cellulose, has decreased by 86%.
 
DECARBONIZATION: REDUCTION OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND EMISSIONS
In the field of decarbonisation, energy efficiency measures, the use of biomass as fuel and cogeneration are the three pillars of the sector's strategy in Spain in terms of reducing emissions. With this strategy, total CO 2 emissions have been reduced by 21% compared to 2012 and those of SOx and NOx by 83% and 40%, respectively. 
 
The paper sector is today the largest industrial producer and consumer of biomass in our country. Biomass currently accounts for 37% of the total fuels used by the sector.
 
The pulp and paper industry is electro-intensive and heat-intensive and produces most of the thermal and electrical energy it needs in cogeneration plants located next to its factories, with an installed capacity of 876 MW. Cogeneration produces both electricity and useful heat in the form of steam, optimizing the use of fuel, thus saving primary energy (a saving of more than 10%) and reducing emissions.
The Spanish paper industry is committed to sustainable reindustrialization, in which decarbonization and circularity are key pieces, which are part of the DNA of paper.

______________________________________________________________________________________ 

ASPAPEL Press Office (Spanish Association of Pulp, Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers):
Information and Image | Paseo de la Castellana, 140 | Tel: 915616826
Angeles Alvarez | Email: aalvarez@informacioneimagen.es 609904877
Eva de Santos | Email: evadesantos@informacioneimagen.es
www.aspapel.es
 

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