In 2014, the Spanish paper & board recovery and recycling industry converted 4.4 million tonnes of this waste into recyclable raw materials. 12% of the waste (528,000 tonnes) came from municipal selective collection systems and citizen cooperation, while the remaining 88% (3.8 million tonnes) had its origin in commercial and industrial collection systems, developed and managed exclusively by private companies.
These figures have meant that not a single paper mill in Spain has had to cease production due to a lack of recycled raw materials. Paper recycling has also led to considerable energy savings, whilst reducing CO2 emissions by over 4 million tonnes, with total emissions being 11% down on the previous year.
The paper industry also imported 1.5 million tonnes of recovered paper. 99% of these imports came from Europe, particularly France and Portugal, for the purpose of offsetting shortages in the domestic supply of certain qualities, such as white and deinked paper. Collection of this type of paper has fallen drastically in recent years due to changing consumption and reading habits.
The fact is that, in the last fifteen years, waste management has undergone an enormous transformation as a result of the application of different EU Directives, which have rerouted recyclable materials from the landfill and incineration, and increased the availability of recycled raw materials.