EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility)



Thanks to voluntary recycling programs, industry leadership and the efforts of millions of Americans who recycle at home, work and school every day, national paper recovery for recycling has increased 76 percent since 1990. Despite this unparalleled, industry-led progress, the government is proposing programs that increase recycling rates – and worsen conditions for consumers, manufacturers and the general U.S. paper products industry.  


  • Supports voluntary paper and paper-based packaging recovery efforts;
  • Seeks to improve existing recovery and recycling programs;
  • Believes a successful product stewardship program is a voluntary, shared responsibility amongst all members of the supply chain. 

Paper Recycling in the U.S.

  • Each year since 2009, more than 60 percent of paper  used in the U.S. was recovered for recycling – exceeding  65 percent in 2012.
  • The amount of paper going to landfills has declined by more than half since 2000.
  • In 2010, 87 percent of Americans had access to curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling. 

Government-Mandated Recycling Programs

Programs such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) or product stewardship laws obligate manufacturers to:

  • assume all costs associated with managing waste from their products; or
  • take back all of their products and packaging.                

This leads to increased costs for consumers and market distortions in the free flow of recyclable commodities.

Continued Industry-Led Efforts

The industry’s sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020, includes a goal to increase paper recovery for recycling to exceed 70 percent.

For more information on the industry’s sustainability goals, visit www.afandpa.org/sustainability

For interactive resources to help improve paper recycling efforts, visit www.paperrecycles.org.