Effect of recycling paper into new paper products on the economic management of forests in Scotland

Andrew David Cameron, Alice Baker, Douglas Macmillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the potential economic effects of recycling waste paper into new paper products on the primary forestry industry in Scotland. Published data on current and future production of recycled paper and small roundwood (the main source of raw fibre) were reviewed. Opinions on paper recycling were collated from a survey of local authorities (the main collectors and distributors of waste paper), the pulp and paper mills (the principal users of wood fibre and waste paper in the manufacture of paper products), and the primary forestry sector (the primary wood fibre producers). The finding suggest that paper recycling into new paper products is economically damaging to the primary forestry sector. Local authorities are unable to recover the cost of recycling through the income received from waste paper collection; instead relying on subsidies form the Strategic Waste Fund established by the Scottish Executive. In effect, the primary forestry sector has to compete on the open market and produce raw fibre in the form of small roundwood at full cost, whereas pulp and paper mills have the opportunity to purchase recycled fibre from local authorities well below its true cost of 'production'. This cheaper source of fibre has permitted pulp and paper mills to expand recycling at the expense of raw fibre to the extent that several major mills in Britain now use 100% recycled fibre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalScottish Forestry
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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