Paper Industry in the UK - Statistics & Facts

The United Kingdom has a long history in the paper industry, with the world’s first mechanical paper machine installed at the Frogmore Paper Mill in 1803. More than 200 years later this industry is still an important part of the United Kingdom’s economy, with a GVA (gross value added) of 3.5 billion British pounds. It is also a direct employer of almost 60,000 people, across 1,500 companies.

Unlike the United States, China or even nearby Germany, the United Kingdom (UK) is not one of the world’s biggest paper producers. In 2017, the country produced approximately 3.8 million metric tons of paper and cardboard, more than 30 times less than the world’s biggest producer China. Of this total volume the production of packaging was higher than any other type of paper and board product.

In 2019, 3.6 billion British pounds of graphics paper and boards was exported by the UK, making it by far the most valuable type of paper and paper board exported by the country. The European Union (EU-27) is the country’s main importer of paper goods, with a share of more than 50 percent of all exports.

In addition to being the nation's main importer, the European Union is also the main exporter of paper and boards to the UK, making up almost 70 percent of total imports. Of all paper importing countries around the world, the UK is the fourth biggest, behind the United States, Germany and France, with a share of just under five percent of the global total.

Of the papers and boards products available, packaging and graphics types were the most consumed in terms of volume, with a combined total of 9.4 million metric tons.

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Paper industry in the UK

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