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EPA Packaging Recycling

Most recent data from the EPA  indicates that paper and paperboard packaging accounts for 3/4 of all packaging materials recovered for recycling in the U.S.

Where Recycled Paper Goes Graph

In 2021, nearly half of recycled paper went into making containerboard - the material used to make cardboard boxes.

Cardboard Recycling Graph

In 2021, 91.4% of cardboard boxes were recycled. Keep up the good work by breaking boxes down flat, keeping them dry and clean, and then put them in the bin. 

Paper Recycling Graph

In 2021, we recovered more than 50 million tons of paper for recycling and the paper recycling rate was 68%.  That's a rate on par with the highest rate previously achieved.

Paper Recycling Rate Graphic

68% of paper was recycled in 2021. A rate on par with the highest rate previously achieved.

Cardboard Recycling Rate Graphic

91.4% of all cardboard boxes were recycled in 2021. The recycling rate for cardboard has exceeded 82% since 2009. 

Paper and Cardboard Recycling Rate Graphic

Paper recycling is a success story. In 2021, 68% of paper was recycled and 91.4% of cardboard boxes were recycled.

U.S. Paper Industry Reaches Recycling High in 2021

AF&PA announced 68% of all paper consumed in the United States was recycled in 2021 – a rate on par with the highest rate previously achieved. Additionally, the recycling rate for old corrugated containers (OCC) – commonly known as cardboard – increased. 

Unpacking Continuously High Paper Recycling Rates

The numbers are in! Paper is one of the most recycled materials. This is confirmed by our continuously high recycling rates. In 2021, the paper recycling rate climbed to 68%. And the recycling rate for cardboard boxes was 91.4%.   

Does Paper Actually Get Recycled?

After your local recycling hauler picks up your recycling, it’s taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where it’s sorted into like things. Workers remove items that shouldn’t be there, also called contaminants. That includes things like plastic bags, holiday lights, diapers and even…

AF&PA Urges Colorado Governor Polis to Veto EPR Scheme

AF&PA Vice President of Industry Affairs Terry Webber issued a statement in response to the Colorado General Assembly passing (HB22-1355), which would create an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program.

Product Stewardship

For over a decade, the paper industry has achieved a consistently high recycling rate, meeting or exceeding 63% each year since 2009. Our industry’s success in paper recycling is because our systems are voluntary and market-driven. And because of the industry’s investments and the support of the…