Five things you may not know about recycling

Published 29 May 2020
Recycling is extremely important: no one wants products or materials to end up as waste in landfills, our oceans, or nature. Many of us do our best to recycle our waste and know a fair share about how it all works. We collected five things you may not have come across yet.

1. Wood fibers can be recycled at least 5-7 times, sometimes over 20 times. Once fibers get too degraded to recycle, they can be used to make bioenergy. In addition, residual fly ash from bioenergy production can be used for purposes such as land construction or even turned into new products such as VersaLime by Stora Enso.

2. To keep recycling going, a steady flow of fresh raw materials is almost always needed for improved durability and functionality. This is where it matters where the raw material comes from – can it be regrown or will it run out? Wood fibers that originate from sustainably managed forests (like 100% of Stora Enso's wood), can grow back forever. 

3. Paper for Recycling (PfR) consists of, for example, recycled newspapers, magazines, and paperboard. In Europe, 71.6% of paper and paperboard was recycled in 20181. With 2.2 million tonnes of paper for recycling (PfR) used in 2019, Stora Enso is one of the largest PfR consumers in Europe.

4. When it comes to packaging, the recycling rate for fiber-based packaging in Europe is twice as high compared to plastic packaging. The rate was 85.5% for fiber-based packaging and 41.9% for plastic packaging in 20172. It’s also noteworthy that when fossil-based plastic is burned, it adds fossil CO2 emissions into the atmosphere because fossil sources do not re-absorb these emissions. When fiber-based materials are burned, the CO2 is re-absorbed by growing trees, creating a continuous carbon cycle.

5. In order for anything to be truly recyclable, it must actually get recycled. Sometimes local infrastructure doesn't allow for the collection and recycling of certain materials.Other times, people simply don't recycle materials, even if they are recyclable and collection is organized. Stora Enso actively works with industry alliances and other partners to promote the collection and recycling of fiber-based materials.

 

 

1 Source: European Paper Recycling Council
2 Source: Eurostat