According to federal figures reported by a daily, an average German uses more paper and cardboard than any other country in the G20, the reason being the growing online retail market which uses paper and cardboard for packing. In 2018, Germany used 241.7 kilograms of paper per person. The US stood in second place with 211 kilograms per person. The report suggests that the use of paper packaging, in particular, has gone up considerably in Germany.
As per figures, the average German used 70 kilograms of paper packaging in 1991 which rose to 96.3 kilograms in 2018. At the same time, the figures also show that the use of recycled paper rose from 49% to 76% over the last 30 years. It's not the German citizens who have ked to the rise in consumption but also the German Government and its agencies. The Federal report shows that the German Government used 1.05 billion sheets of paper in 2018, a slight decline from 2015 when it used 1.15 billion sheets, which is still a huge amount.
Green party parliamentary spokeswoman Bettina Hoffman told the Saarbrücker Zeitung that timber forests equivalent to 40,000 football fields are necessary to satisfy Germany’s rate of paper consumption. The spokeswoman called Germans to regulate paper waste by reducing requirements for paper and cardboard.
A 2005 study published on Paperwatch also called for reducing Germany's paper consumption. The paper cited that demand for paper has serious consequences: illegally cut timber is employed, some of the last remaining primeval-forest areas of the world are being destroyed, indigenous people are deprived of their land and the subsistence of future generations is endangered. It further said that the industrial countries which comprise approximately one-fifth of the world’s population but consume more than 80 percent of the paper world-wide are responsible for the scenario. Also in Germany, the paper consumption has reached a level that is not compatible with sustainable development and global justice, it quoted. Less than 10 percent of the pulp being required to maintain our lavish use of paper, are manufactured in domestic factories from local timber, more than 90 p.c. however is being imported, it added.