Paper consumption and production across Europe in 2022 fell to a greater extent than in the Covid years, according to Cepi, the confederation of European paper industries. Consumption of paper and boards fell 3.5 percent while production of paper and boards fell 6.5 percent in the same period.
In many sectors, consumption fell by double digits, while production was hit by the loss of mills and paper machines, cutting overall production capacity.
There were 23 fewer mills at the end of 2023 compared to the year before with 21 fewer carton board making and paper machines.
Newsprint production 2022 fell 11.1 percent to 3.44 million tons; uncoated mechanical paper production dropped 12.4 percent to 4.44 million tons; with a drop of 7.2 percent in production of uncoated woodfree papers to 7.23 million tons.
The biggest fall according to Cepi was the coated mechanical sector with a 19.5 percent drop in production to 3.57 million tons with woodfree coated paper declining by 12.2 percent to 3.87 million tonnes. This amounted to an 11.8 percent fall in production of graphic papers to 22.04 million tons with a 6.9 percent fall in consumption to 17.6 million tons.
Production also fell in carton boards to 9.57 million tons in 2022, a drop of 2.7 percent while consumption of this grade increased by 6.5 percent to 6.4 million tons. Total packaging paper and board consumption dropped 4.6 percent.
Germany remains the largest producer of the Cepi countries with 25.4 percent of the total paper and board production. The UK falls below the 5.4 percent attributed to Austria, residing among the rest of the rest of Cepi countries category.
The industry has continued to reduce dependence on grid provided energy with 60.5 percent of energy needs met through biomass. However, Cepi comments that “even larger green investments will be needed in the coming years to answer the EU’s climate ambitions”.