U.S. Paper Industry Achieves Consistently High Recycling Rate
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66.2 Percent of Paper Consumed Recovered for Recycling in 2019
WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today announced 66.2 percent of paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling in 2019. Over the last decade, the U.S. paper industry achieved a consistently high recycling rate, meeting or exceeding 63 percent since 2009 — a rate that’s nearly doubled since 1990, when the industry first set a paper recycling goal. The recycling rate for old corrugated containers (OCC) in 2019 was 92.0 percent, and the three-year average OCC recycling rate is 92.3 percent.
“Paper recycling continues to be an environmental success story,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “More than twice as much paper is recycled than is sent to landfills, saving an average of 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space for each ton of paper recycled. This is a testament to consumer behavior and an industry commitment to paper recycling. AF&PA members continue to invest in manufacturing infrastructure that will allow us to recycle even more paper in the years ahead.”
Paper recycling helps extend the life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of the industry’s sustainability story. Recycled paper fibers can be used at least seven times to make new and innovative paper products.
For more information about U.S. paper recycling statistics, paper recycling and AF&PA’s commitment to sustainability, visit www.paperrecycles.org.