The Paper Recovery Record

May 09, 2016
Hawkinson_Brian-WebBy Brian Hawkinson
Executive Director, Recovered Fiber

Paper recovery for recycling is important because it helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of our industry’s sustainability story. Last year, a record 66.8 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling.

The voluntary, market-driven recovery system

Compared to other recyclable commodities, the recovery rate of paper and paper-based packaging is very high. And we have achieved continuously high recovery rates through the voluntary, market-driven recovery system. Supply, demand, and global economics all play a role in how much fiber is ultimately recovered.

Industry efforts

AF&PA works to promote increased paper recovery to help meet global manufacturing demand.  We have created materials to educate consumers about best paper recycling practices, such as which kinds of paper and paper-based packaging are recyclable, making sure paper products are clean and dry before they’re placed in the recycling bins, and how to determine what to shred before recycling and what can go straight into recycling bins.

As an inaugural funding member of The Recycling Partnership, we help create public-private partnerships to build communities’ recycling infrastructure and improve consumer recycling outreach and education, giving partner communities the capacity to generate more and better quality recyclable materials.

AF&PA members also support and implement education programs and initiatives to inform consumers about the importance of paper recycling, and encourage the continued expansion of access to paper recycling nationwide.

People like you

Millions of people make the decision to recycle at home, work and school every day. Thank you for doing your part to make paper recycling a success!

For more information about paper recycling and AF&PA’s commitment to sustainability, visit