Paper Grades

In January 1999 UK paper mills and suppliers started to adopt the new European Standard grade list complied in the month by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) which is intended to be used as the basis for the revision of the European Standard EN643.

To help make the new European grading system easier to use in the UK and to make statistical comparison with previous years easier, the Paper Federation allocated the new European grades into an easy-to-use UK-base list. This is shown after the new CEPI grades list.

  • Group 1
  • Group 2
  • Group 3
  • Group 4
  • Group 5
  • CEPI vs UK grades

CEPI and the Bureau of International Recyclings European list of standard qualities of recovered paper and board, January 1999. This list of European Standard qualities of recovered paper and board gives a general description of the Standard Grades by defining what they do and do not contain.

The list is for use by industry professionals, organisations and individuals with an interest in the recovered paper sector to assist in the buying and selling of this raw material intended for recycling by the paper and board industry. The list also provides help and support for Customs and Excise Officers who are required to classify these raw materials from waste in the context of supranational legislation on the control of waste movement.

It is not the purpose to specify all the qualities of recovered paper and board that exist in the different markets, but rather to define those qualities most traded in Europe. The description of grades is brief, and for this reason it is recognised that specific deals between buyer and supplier for grades with special specifications will still be necessary to meet individual requirements and will not be excluded by any implied regulations associated with the publication of this list.

Paper and board mills may ask for a declaration from the supplier about the origin of the material, in relation to national regulations or standard requirements.

Recovered paper from refuse sorting stations is not suitable for use in the paper industry. Recovered paper and board originating from multi-material collection systems, containing only material of a valuable, recyclable nature, has to be specifically marked. It is not permissible to mix it unmarked with other recovered paper and board.

The list contains a group of recovered paper grades (Group 5 “Special Qualities”) that, in most cases, can only be recycled using specific processes, or can cause some specific constraints to recycling. Their inclusion in the list is justified by the existence of a significant European market. Actual recycling of the specific qualities can only be done by a limited number of mills located in only a few countries.

Materials which are unusable in production consist of “non-paper components”, and “paper and board detrimental to production”. Recovered paper and board should in principle be supplied free of unusable material, but where for specific qualities a certain proportion of unusable materials is agreed between purchaser and supplier, it shall refer solely to the element described as “paper and board detrimental to production”.
These consist of any foreign matter in the recovered paper and board, which, during processing, may cause damage to machines or interruptions to production or may reduce the value of the finished product, such as:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Textiles
  • Wood
  • Sand and building materials
  • Synthetic materials
  • Synthetic papers
These are grades of paper and board which have been recovered or treated in such a way that they are for a basic or standard level of equipment unsuitable as raw material for the manufacture of paper and board, or are actually damaging, or whose presence makes the whole consignment of paper unusable.
Mixed paper and board, unsorted, but unusable materials removed
A mixture of various grades of paper and board, without restriction on short fibre content.

Mixed papers and board (sorted)
A mixture of various qualities of paper and board, containing a maximum of 40% of newspapers and magazines.

Grey board
Printed and unprinted white lined and unlined grey board or mixed board, free from corrugated material.

Supermarket corrugated paper and board
Used paper and board packaging, containing a minimum of 70% of corrugated board, the rest being solid board and wrapping papers.

Old corrugated containers
Used boxes and sheets of corrugated board of various qualities.

Unsold magazines
Unsold magazines, with or without glue

Telephone books
New and used telephone books, with unlimited content of pages coloured in the mass, with and without glue. Shavings allowed.

Mixed newspapers and magazines
A mixture of newspapers and magazines, containing a minimum of 50% of newspapers, with or without glue.

Mixed newspapers and magazines
A mixture of newspapers and magazines, containing a minimum of 60% of newspapers, with or without glue.

Mixed magazines and newspapers
A mixture of newspapers and magazines, containing a minimum of 60% of magazines, with or without glue.

Sorted graphic paper for de-inking
Sorted graphic paper from households; newspapers and magazines, each at a minimum of 40%. The percentage of non de-inkable paper and board should be reduced over time to a maximum level of 1.5%. The actual percentage is to be negotiated between buyer and seller.

Newspapers
Newspapers, containing a maximum of 5% of newspapers or advertisements coloured in the mass.

Unsold newspapers
Unsold daily newspapers, free from additional inserts or illustrated material coloured in the mass.

Unsold newspapers no flexographic printing allowed
Unsold daily newspapers, free from additional inserts or illustrated material coloured in the mass, strings allowed. No flexographic printed material allowed.

Lightly printed white shavings
Lightly printed white shavings, mainly mechanical pulp based paper.

Lightly printed white shavings without glue

Lightly printed white shavings, mainly mechanical pulp based paper, without glue

Heavily printed white shavings
Heavily printed white shavings, mainly mechanical pulp based paper.

Heavily printed white shavings without glue
Heavily printed white shavings, mainly mechanical pulp based paper, without glue.

Sorted office paper

Coloured letters
Correspondence, in mixed papers coloured in the mass, with or without print, of printing or writing paper. Free from carbon paper and hard covers.

White wood-free books
Books, including misprints of books, without hard covers, mainly of wood-free white paper, black-printed only. Containing a maximum of 10% of coated paper.

Coloured wood-free magazines
Coated or uncoated magazines, white or coloured in the mass, free from non-flexible covers, bindings, non-dispersible inks and adhesives, poster papers, labels or label trim. May include heavily printed circulars and coloured in the mass shavings. Containing a maximum of 10% mechanical pulp based papers.

Carbonless copy paper

Bleached wood-free PE-coated board
Bleached wood-free PE-coated board from board manufacturers and converters.

Other PE-coated board
Other PE coated board. May contain unbleached board and paper from board manufacturers and converters.

Mechanical pulp-based computer printout
Continuous computer printout, mechanical pulp-based, sorted by colours, may include recycled fibres.

Mixed lightly coloured printers shavings
Mixed shavings of printing and writing papers lightly coloured in the mass, containing a minimum of 50% of wood-free paper.

Mixed lightly coloured wood-free printers shavings
Mixed shavings of printing and writing papers lightly coloured in the mass, containing a minimum of 90% of wood-free paper.

Wood-free binders
White wood-free lightly printed shavings with glue, free from paper coloured in the mass. May contain a maximum of 10% of mechanical pulp based paper.

Tear white shavings
White wood-free lightly printed shavings without glue, free from wet-strength paper and paper coloured in the mass.

White wood-free letters
Sorted white wood-free writing papers, originating from office records, free from cashbooks, carbon paper and non-water soluble adhesives. 3.06 White business forms

White wood-free computer printout
White wood-free computer printout, free from carbonless paper and glue.

Printed bleached sulphate board
Heavily printed sheets of bleached sulphate board, without glue, polycoated or waxed materials.

Lightly printed bleached sulphate board
Lightly printed sheets of bleached sulphate board, without glue, polycoated or waxed materials.

Multi-printing
Wood-free, coated, lightly printed, free from wet-strength paper or paper coloured in the mass.

White heavily printed multiply board
New cuttings of heavily printed white multi-ply board, containing wood-free, mechanical or thermo-mechanical pulp plies, but without grey plies.

White lightly printed multiply board
New cuttings of lightly printed white multi-ply board, containing wood-free, mechanical or thermo-mechanical pulp plies, but without grey plies.

White unprinted multiply board
New cuttings of unprinted white multi-ply board, containing wood-free, mechanical or thermo-mechanical pulp plies, but without grey plies.

White newsprint
Shavings and sheets of white unprinted newsprint, free from magazine paper.

White mechanical pulp based coated and uncoated paper
Shavings and sheets of white unprinted coated and uncoated mechanical pulp based paper.

White wood-free coated paper, without glue

White shavings
Shavings and sheets of white unprinted paper, free from newsprint and magazine paper containing a minimum of 60% of wood-free paper, may contain a maximum of 10% of coated paper. Without glue.

White wood-free shavings
Shavings and sheets of white unprinted wood-free paper; may contain a maximum of 5% of coated paper. Without glue.

White wood-free uncoated shavings
Shavings and sheets of white unprinted wood-free paper, free from coated paper. Without glue.

Unprinted bleached sulphate board
Unprinted sheets of bleached sulphate board, without glue, polycoated or waxed materials.

New shavings of corrugated board
Shavings of corrugated board, with liners of kraft or testliner

Unused corrugated kraft
Unused boxes, sheets and shavings of corrugated board, with kraft liners only, the fluting made from chemical or thermo-chemical pulp

Unused corrugating material
Unused boxes, sheets and shavings of corrugated board, with liners of kraft or testliner.

Used corrugated kraft I
Used boxes of corrugated board, with kraft liners only, the fluting made from chemical or thermo-chemical pulp.

Used corrugated kraft II
Used boxes of corrugated board, with liners of kraft or testliners but having at least one liner made of kraft.

Used kraft sacks
Wet strength and non wet-strength.

Used kraft sacks with polycoated papers
Clean used kraft sacks. Wet strength and non wet-strength, may include polycoated papers.

Unused kraft sacks with polycoated papers
Unused kraft sacks. Wet strength and non-we-strength, may include polycoated papers.

Used kraft Used kraft paper and board of a natural or white shade

New kraft Shavings and other new kraft paper and board of a natural shade

New carrier kraft New carrier kraft, may include wet-strength paper

Mixed recovered paper and board
Unsorted paper and board, separated at source.

Mixed packaging
A mixture of various qualities of used paper and board packaging free from newspapers and magazines.

Liquid board packaging
Used liquid packaging board including PE-coated liquid packaging board (with or without aluminium content), containing a minimum of 50% by weight of fibres, and the balance being aluminium or coatings.

Wrapper kraft
Ploy-lined, sprayed or laminated used kraft. Must not contain bitumen or wax coatings.

Wet labels
Used wet labels from wet-strength papers, containing a maximum of 1% glass content, and a maximum of 50% moisture, without other unusable materials.

Unprinted white wet-strength wood-free papers
Printed white wet-strength wood-free papers.

The CEPI list arranged with comparisons to traditional UK grading numbers and names.

GROUP 1: UNPRINTED WOOD-FREE

  • White wood-free coated paper without adhesives.
  • White shavings
  • White wood-free shavings
  • White wood-free uncoated shavings.
  • Unprinted bleached sulphate board
  • Unprinted white wet-strength wood-free papers

GROUP 2: UNPRINTED WOOD-FREE

  • White wood-free books
  • Bleached wood-free PE coated board
  • Wood-free binders
  • Tear white shavings
  • White wood-free letters
  • White business forms
  • White wood-free computer paper
  • Printed bleached sulphate board
  • Lightly printed bleached sulphate board
  • Printed white wet strength wood-free paper

GROUP 3: MECHANICAL

  • Lightly printed white shavings
  • Lightly printed white shavings without glue
  • Heavily printed white shavings
  • Heavily printed white shavings without glue
  • Wood containing CPO
  • White heavily printed multiply board
  • White lightly printed multiply board
  • White unprinted multiply board
  • White newsprint
  • White wood containing coated and uncoated paper.
  • White wood containing coated paper only

GROUP 4: COLOURED WOOD-FREE

  • Sorted office papers
  • Coloured letters
  • Coloured wood-free magazines
  • Carbonless copy paper
  • Mixed lightly coloured printers shavings
  • Mixed lightly coloured wood-free printers shavings
  • Multi-printing

GROUP 5: NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES (ORDINARY GRADE DE-INKING)

  • Unsold magazines
  • Unsold magazines without glue
  • Telephone books
  • Mixed newspapers & magazines I (min 50% news)
  • Mixed newspapers & magazines II (min 60% news)
  • Mixed magazines & newspapers (min 60% mags)
  • Sorted graphic paper for de-inking
  • Newspapers 2.02 Unsold newspapers
  • Unsold newspapers containing no flexo printing

GROUP 7: NEW KLS & UNUSED KRAFTS

  • New shavings of corrugated board.
  • Unused corrugated kraft
  • Unused corrugating materials
  • Unused kraft sacks
  • Unused kraft sacks with poly-coated papers
  • New kraft
  • New carrier kraft

GROUP 8: USED KRAFT & OCC (POST CONSUMER)

  • Supermarket corrugated paper & board.
  • Old corrugated containers
  • Used corrugated kraft I
  • Used corrugated kraft II
  • Used kraft sacks
  • Used kraft sacks with poly-coated papers.
  • Used kraft
  • Wrapper kraft

GROUP 9: MIXED & COLOURED CARD

  • Mixed paper & board unsorted but unusables removed
  • Mixed paper & boards (sorted)
  • Greyboard
  • Other PE coated board
  • Mixed recovered paper & board
  • Mixed packaging
  • Liquid board packaging
  • Wt labels