UK Exports of Recovered Fiber Increased 4.4% in 2014, Domestic Consumption Down

Despite challenging economic conditions and the drop in China’s overall imports, Europe’s leading recovered fiber exporter — the UK — still succeeded in shipping out larger volumes last year, according to latest figures from the country’s Confederation of Paper Industries and HM Revenue & Customs.

Combined, UK exports of all grades climbed 4.4% to 4.436 million tonnes in 2014 from 4.248 million tonnes in the previous year. Overseas shipments of corrugated and kraft edged 2.1% higher to 2.458 million tonnes while mixed paper deliveries to customers abroad soared 29.2% to 1.414 million tonnes. These gains more than offset steep declines for the high grades (-34.5% to 103 802 tonnes) and for newspapers and magazines (-21.6% to 460 199 tonnes).

The UK’s export performance compensated for a decline in domestic recovered paper usage of 3.2% last year to 3.714 million tonnes. The country’s collection volumes edged up 1.4% to 8.014 million tonnes while its imports nosedived 26% to 136,176 tonnes.

Of concern for the UK in 2015 is the permanent closure in late-February of the Aylesford Newsprint paper mill. Based in Kent, the mill consumed around 500,000 tonnes of recovered fiber per year — primarily old newspapers (ONP), mixed paper and old magazines (OMG) — to produce more than 400,000 tonnes of 100 percent recycled-content newsprint.

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