British papers hit recycling high

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Britain's newspaper industry is leading the world after reaching its target of using at least 40 per cent recycled paper four years ahead of schedule.

All national and major regional newspapers have been awarded the green stamp of approval in a government-backed recycling programme. From now on they will print daily the industry recycling logo with the average recycled content of British newspapers.

Between 1990 and 1995, the proportion of waste paper in newsprint used by British papers rose from 26.8 per cent to 34.5 per cent. For the first six months of last year the figure was 41.2 per cent. There are no figures available on the green credentials of individual titles.

Congratulating the newspaper industry, John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, said yesterday: "This is a notable achievement by a major industry in reducing the impact of its operations on the environment and contributing to more sustainable waste management practices. I particularly welcome the fact that this has been achieved by voluntary means and without government intervention or regulation."

The industry is planning to set up a working group to examine the future of newspaper recycling. The group will report to the Government and the industry in early 1998.

As yet, a breakdown of figures for individual titles is unavailable. The environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth is pressing for information on individual titles to be made public so that the consumer has a choice, but Mr Gummer warned against "weazle words" such as those found on the back of many so-called environmentally friendly Christmas cards.

Dr Georgina Green, a Friends of the Earth forest campaigner, was not satisfied with the 40 per cent target. The organisation believes the figure should be nearer 80 per cent.