Increase Paper Recovery for Recycling

GOAL: Exceed 70 percent rate of paper recovery for recycling by 2020.

Recovering paper for recycling...

... helps the environment. Recovering valuable resources extends the fiber supply, allowing our industry to reuse its products to make new ones.

In addition, paper recovery saves landfill space — an average of 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space is saved for each ton of paper recycled. important to the U.S. economy. Recovered paper that was sorted or processed in the U.S. had a 2012 market value of $8.4 billion.1 The value of U.S. recovered paper exports totaled $3.4 billion in 2012.2

Paper recovery has fostered a dynamic marketplace that allows recovered fiber to find its highest-value end. That in turn helps to encourage more recycling. a collective effort. Paper recovery is possible thanks to the millions of Americans who recycle at home, work and school every day.

In 2010, 87 percent of the U.S. population had access to community curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling services.


Our industry nurtures an environment where the rate of paper recovery continually increases.

In 2012, 65.1 percent of all paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, nearly doubling our rate of paper recovery since 1990.

The paper industry’s recycling success leads the way for all other U.S. recycling efforts. In 2010, only 27.1 percent of glass, 19.9 percent of aluminum and 8.2 percent of plastics were recovered – compared to 62.5 percent of paper.3

AF&PA leads a variety of efforts to encourage and increase paper recovery for recycling.

We partner with Kaleidoscope Inc. and Keep America Beautiful to deliver curricula to the classroom that educate students and their families on the importance of paper recovery.

Other partnerships to encourage paper recycling include those with RecycleMania, EPA, and other stakeholders.

The annual AF&PA Recycling Awards program provides important recognition and incentives for continued paper recovery success.

For more information, read pages 7-8 of the 2012 AF&PA Sustainability Report.


1 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)
2 U.S. Census Bureau
3 U.S. EPA