Australia’s world class newsprint recovery and recycling continues

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The latest Newsprint Recovery & Recycling report shows Australia continues to lead the way in recycling of newsprint with 61.8% of newsprint recycled. Even as consumption declines, newsprint is one of the most recovered fibre products, underscoring the value of the long, strong fibres from which it is manufactured.

The 2021-22 Newsprint Recovery & Recycling report, prepared by IndustryEdge, highlights the sustained and ongoing efforts of Australian publishers to minimise their impact on the environment. IndustryEdge has worked with ThinkNewsBrands, its members and the recovery supply chain on the annual newsprint data for almost two decades.

In 2021-22, the recycling rate only fell marginally, by 3.8 percentage points, compared to the previous report conducted in 2020. Additionally, the report found the decline in newsprint consumption was below expectations – down 7.8% on an annualised basis – well below the level of previous years which averaged a 13.2% decline.

As the chart here shows clearly, as newsprint consumption and recovery volumes have fallen away, the recovery rate has only recently begun to decline. This underscores industry efforts to ensure its product is recycled.


Australian Newsprint Consumption, Recovery and Recovery Rate: 1990 – 2021-22 (tonnes & %)

Source: IndustryEdge


Globally, the newsprint recovery rate is often included in wider paper recycling figures however the latest data from the US shows recycling sits at 60%.

The focused effort on newsprint recycling in Australia began in 1990 with the implementation of the first product stewardship plan, the National Environment Sustainability Agreement for newspapers and magazines (NESA). The NESA is supported by Nine, News Corp Australia, Seven West Media and Are Media.

In 1989, only 28% of newspapers were recycled with 3% of all newspapers going to landfill. Today, only 0.3% of newspapers end up in landfill with an incredible 62%having a second life. Key uses of recycled newsprint include moulded fibre, pet care, composting and insulation.

TONY WILKINS – ThinkNewsBrands Environment Director


Commenting on the report – and suggesting there are industry announcements in the officing, Tony Wilkins commented: “Australia retains its position among the world leaders in newspaper recycling and we expect this to continue, in line with the sustainability commitments of our industry. More on that soon.

The full report can be downloaded here.


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