A new study by Rene Eckhart, Institute for Biobased Products and Paper Technology at TU Graz, now proves that cardboard packaging can be recycled at least 25 times.
According to ARA, 616,500 tonnes of recovered paper were collected in Austria in 2021, 0.4% more than in 2020. According to Eurostat, the
recycling rate of paper and cardboard in Europe is around 85% (2019), far outstripping other materials.
Waste paper is a very important resource for the production of paper and board. It is used in particular for newsprint and packaging materials such as corrugated base papers, folding boxes and packaging paper. While newspapers and corrugated board are almost 100% recovered paper based, the share in folding cartons is about 35%.
Multiple recycling has a positive effect on the environmental balance of packaging, especially in terms of water demand, energy use as well as CO2 emissions. For a long time it was assumed that the maximum number of recycling cycles is between 4 and 7 times. The fibre changes mainly in the first two recycling cycles. The new study now shows that fibres can easily be recycled 25 times or more. The researchers were not able to prove any limiting trends, which means that after 25 recycling cycles, the end is far from being reached.