The European paper and board recycling industries have set a record new recycling rate of 54.6%.
The figure puts them on track to meet the target of 56% by the end of 2005 and means recycling rates will be a staggering 25%, or 10 million tonnes higher than in the base year 1998.
A European Recovered Paper Council spokesman said: "The paper and board industries are not complacent, recognising that each incremental increase in the recycling rate is progressively more difficult."
The spokesman added: "A new and more ambitious commitment is under preparation for the period 2006-2010 and stakeholders continue to develop and support initiatives to promote recycling across the paper industry related chain."
With its potential to create employment and save energy and natural resources, paper recycling remains at the forefront of Europe's objectives on sustainable development.