Limitless recycling will remain a dream. In actual fact, however, the paper industry is not too far off the mark. With a 78 % paper for recycling utilization rate, the industry is a flagship model of recycling management. In Germany, over 15 million tons recovered paper is annually processed into new paper. Since collections of paper for recycling in Germany fail to meet the actual demand, imports from abroad are required.
The treatment of papers for recycling comprises several steps, a process that inevitably involves losses of fiber and quality. With a view to maintaining a continued paper cycle, fresh fiber has to be consistently introduced into the cycle. Wood fibers in paper normally withstand up to 10 recycles.
In terms of quality, recycled papers do not have to fear the comparison with competitor grades made from chemical or mechanical pulp. However there are quite a number of paper types that cannot be partly or completely produced from recycled fiber because they have to meet stringent demands on tear strength or printability.