Setting a High Bar for Paper Recycling

Industry-led efforts to increase paper recovery for recycling are among the best examples of how we are protecting our environment, growing the economic contributions of the industry, and fostering the well-being of employees. AF&PA's goal is to ensure a continuing, expanding domestic recovered fiber supply to help meet global demand.

Paper recovery for recycling is an environmental success story. Paper recycling reuses a renewable resource that stores carbon long-term, also known as sequestering carbon, and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The recycling rate for paper and paper-based packaging has met or exceeded 63 percent for the past 10 years. As a part of AF&PA’s Better Practices Better Planet 2020 goals, members have pledged to increase U.S. paper recovery for recycling to exceed 70 percent by 2020.

AF&PA believes:

  • Legislation and regulation should not mandate flow control of recyclable materials.
  • Government incentives or directives should not be used to divert commonly recycled paper away from reuse in manufacturing products.
  • Recycled fiber content mandates can have unintended economic and environmental effects. The collection, processing and utilization of recovered paper should be done in a way that enables it to go to its highest value end use.
  • Rather than drive increased recovery of paper, mandating minimum recycled content in certain products only shifts the available supply of fiber away from other products where it is more efficiently used.
  • The distinction between pre- and post- consumer content is not meaningful and should not be used in government policies.

Related:  Paper Recycling and COVID-19 One Pager (PDF) | Paper Recycles | Recycling Best Practices Video | Why You Shouldn't Wishcycle