62% of the energy used to produce paper and paper packaging in Europe comes from renewable sources.
Paper is fundamental to a circular economy and has the benefit that it is based on wood fibres which are renewable, recyclable and sustainable. 62% of European pulp and paper mills’ energy consumption comes from renewable sources and 96% of on-site electricity production is through efficient combined heat and power (CHP) units.
The European paper industry has achieved (between 1991 and 2020) substantial reductions in energy and water consumption, as well as emissions to air and water, despite a 45% increase in production.
62% of the energy used to produce paper and paper packaging in Europe comes from renewable sources.CEPI, 2020
EU forests absorb around 10% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions each year.European Commission, 2019
The European paper industry has reduced its carbon emissions by 26% since 2005.CEPI, 2018
Paper helps to tackle climate change
Choosing paper packaging is one way to tackle climate change. As the provider of a renewable and recyclable resource, forests of all types play a critical role in the global carbon cycle.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and a proportion of it is locked-up in the wood fibre; in fact, roughly half of the dry weight of wood is carbon. In addition, while a healthy forest will contain about 30% of the sequestered carbon in its biomass, another 70% will be held in the soil. With appropriate replanting and responsible forest management, long-term carbon stocks are maintained – therefore, the forest acts as a ‘carbon sink’, withholding carbon from the atmosphere and so helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Carbon remains locked-up within wood products for the duration of their life cycle, equivalent to removing 693 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. While paper products typically have a relatively short life span (with a few exceptions such as books or archived documents), the climate change benefit of wood fibre is extended through recycling, as it continues to store sequestered carbon.
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