With more e-commerce, more opportunity to recycle paper-based packaging

Feb 17, 2016
Hawkinson_Brian-WebBy Brian Hawkinson
Executive Director, Recovered Fiber

It’s no secret that e-commerce is growing in the United States. The market research firm eMarketer projects e-commerce sales in the U.S. accounted for some $349 billion in 2015. That would represent growth of just over 14 percent from last year’s U.S. e-retail sales of about $305 billion, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department.

E-commerce is growing, in part, because it provides consumers broader access to products and retail outlets world-wide and the convenience of shopping and receiving purchases at home.

Once consumers receive packages, they have the opportunity to recycle them. Fortunately, consumers can take advantage of the same features in recycling that they enjoy in e-commerce — access and convenience.

Research conducted in 2014 for AF&PA by Louis Berger Group found that 96 percent of Americans had access to recycling corrugated boxes in community curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling programs. That access and convenience has enabled great success. In 2014, 89.7 percent of corrugated boxes produced in the U.S. were recovered for recycling.

And recycling corrugated boxes helps the environment. By keeping used corrugated boxes out of landfills, recycling avoids the greenhouse gases that would otherwise result. With more than 29 million tons of corrugated boxes recovered for recycling in the U.S. in 2014, that works out to more than 27 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided.

How can you help? Join millions of Americans who are already recycling paper-based packaging materials at home. Next time you receive an online purchase delivered in a box, make sure to place it in your recycling bin, whether at a single family home, or in an apartment or condo.

Recycling that package will extend the useful life of the fiber it’s made from, save landfill space and avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s a win-win-win!