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18pc growth in alternative uses for recycled newsprint

Australia’s recovery rate for newspapers remains close to the world’s best at more than 75 per cent, while the recovered product has experienced growth of close to 18 per cent in alternative uses over the past year.

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The latest Old Newspaper (ONP) Recovery Figures report, prepared by Industry Edge for NewsMediaWorks, shows the recovery rate stands at 75.4 per cent for 2017 – similar to the previous year which was at 76.1 per cent.

The sustained high recovery rate for newspapers occurred as consumption dropped, as some readers moved totally to digital products. The report says the sustained high recovery rate in the face of less consumption “reflects residual strength in demand for ONP and its fibre”.

Almost 7 per cent of newspapers are reused or recycled around the home which has led to newspapers making up only 1 per cent of what is sent to landfill.

Usage of recovered newsprint outside of recycled paper grew by 17.7 per cent in 2017 over the previous year, largely due to the continued growth in increased shipments of eggs and fruit contained in moulded fibre and other products manufactured from old newspapers.

These alternative applications now account for 12 per cent of total ONP recovery and should be expected to expand their share of a declining market in coming years.

The effectiveness and good practice of industry collection and recycling programs is reflected in the 2017 results. It shows Australia performed similarly to previous years, despite having less resources available.

The Chinese import limitations imposed on contaminated recyclables materials did not come into effect until 2018. For clean recovered paper, including newspapers, markets are likely to remain strong while contaminated and mixed recovered paper grades are likely to be under severe price pressure.

According to the report, recycling in Australia has a bright future as policy settings begin to shift towards energy from waste, providing opportunities to increase the utilisation of recovered newspapers in particular.

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