Current issue: 54(2)
At present, there are no means for reliably comparing the wood fiber contents of different material streams within the paper industry material chain with each other. The aim of this article is to introduce conversion factors that make it possible to quantify the volume of wood expressed in roundwood equivalent (RWE) values for different paper industry-related materials in the material chain. These conversion factors apply to wood pulp, paper, and recovered paper. European data are used in quantifying the paper industry material streams and calculating the RWE conversion factors. The introduced conversion factors can be used to estimate RWE volumes at a global scale. With assumption that paper recycling did not occur and that paper production volume remained unchanged, an additional volume of 666 million m3 RWEs would be required globally per annum to produce 167 million tons of virgin wood pulp to replace 222 million tons of recovered paper utilized by the paper industry in 2010. This volume is approximately the same as 1.6 times the total removal of wood in Europe (EU27), or the total annual removal of wood in the USA, Canada, and Brazil combined.