Some Environmental Policy Implications of Recycling Paper Products in Western Europe

Virtanen, Y. & Nilsson, S. (1992). Some Environmental Policy Implications of Recycling Paper Products in Western Europe. IIASA Executive Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: ER-92-022

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We live in a wasteful society, and are becoming increasingly aware of this fact. Our concern for conservation of our natural resources and about the deleterious effects on the environment of disposal of waste products is increasingly reflected in proposed legislation aimed at reducing waste. The preferred technique is recycling of waste products.

While laudable in its objectives, a narrow focus on recycling is also limited, and can result in unexpected effects that can at least partially offset the expected benefits. This is particularly true of paper for at least three basic reasons. First, paper is a major component, about 35%, of household waste volume. Second, unlike most waste, paper has a very high energy content. And third, unlike coal or oil, paper is a renewable resource, and in Europe is produced mostly from forests managed on sustainable principles.

This report summarizes a forthcoming feasibility study of large-scale paper recycling in Europe which investigated the entire production and disposal process using a "life-cycle" methodology and data base developed at IIASA.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Executive Report)
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:01
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:14

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