Paper and cardboard has (almost) nine lives: celebrating Global Recycling Day

Debunking paper recycling myths and highlighting its role in a sustainable future on Global Recycling Day, with new research showing paper can be recycled up to 25 times.

Fri 17 Mar 23


Global Recycling Day, held every year on March 18, aims to create awareness about the significance of recycling and the responsible use of resources to safeguard our environment.

This year, Wood Central spoke to Love Paper Australia to discuss misconceptions around recycling, with a focus on post-consumer paper recycling. The Love Paper campaign advocates for the sustainable, responsible use of paper and clarifies misunderstandings about paper’s environmental impact, promoting appreciation for this renewable, recyclable resource.

In light of Wood Central’s recent special “The Great Debate: Recycled vs. Carbon Neutral Paper,” Love Paper Australia has addressed some key myths surrounding paper recycling.

Footage courtesy of @prattindustries6200
Myth 1: Paper Recycling is Inefficient

Many people believe that paper recycling is an inefficient process with low recovery rates. However, paper recovery and recycling rates have consistently risen. Australia leads the way in paper recycling, with 87% of all consumed paper and paperboard recycled, followed by Europe (74%), North America (66%), and New Zealand (58%). On average, paper is recycled eight times in Australia, however new research indicates that it could be recycled 25 times, making it the ultimate product for the circular economy.

Australia is the undisputed champion of recycling – almost 90% of all consumed paper and paperboard is recycled.
Myth 2: Paper Recycling Damages Forests

Contrary to popular opinion, paper production does not harm forests. Sustainable forest management practices guarantee a continuous supply of raw materials for the paper industry while preserving biodiversity and maintaining healthy ecosystems. Recent research indicates that over 90% of paper products come from a recognized forest certification scheme. As highlighted in the recent Wood Central article, both recycled and carbon-neutral paper contribute to sustainability. The key is to select products that align with your environmental objectives and ensure they are FSC or PEFC certified.

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The vast majority of paper and carboard is sourced form FSC or PEFC certified forests.
Myth 3: Digital Communication is Always Greener

While transitioning to digital communication offers (some) environmental benefits, it is not always the eco-friendlier option. The paper industry is among the lowest greenhouse gas emitters, accounting for only 1% of global emissions (in contrast, the building and construction industry accounts for 40% of global emissions and 40% of raw product consumption). Meanwhile, the ICT sector, which encompasses data centres and digital devices, contributes to about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, overuse of technology has been linked to physical and mental health stress. This underscores the importance of responsibly using both paper and digital resources.

In a recent Wood Central story, Southeast Asia Contributor Ken Hickson drew attention to greenhouse emissions across the ICT sector.

As we observe Global Recycling Day, it is essential to recognise the importance of recycling and dispel myths about paper recycling. Both recycled and carbon-neutral paper options have their advantages, and sustainable practices in the paper industry contribute to a healthier planet. By making informed decisions, promoting recycling, and using resources responsibly, we can ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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