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How to Recycle Paper if You Don’t Have Curbside Recycling

Paper products like cardboard boxes, pizza boxes, mail and paper bags are widely accepted in recycling programs throughout the U.S.  

One of the easiest ways to recycle those products is through a residential curbside program where your materials are picked up and taken directly to a materials recovery facility to be sorted. Our 2021 AF&PA Access to Recycling Study shows 79% of the U.S. population has access to curbside recycling. 

What To Do if You Don’t Have Curbside Recycling 

If curbside isn’t available in your area, the first thing you can check is if your area has a drop-off program that accepts paper products.

Our study shows 55% of the U.S. population has access to a drop-off recycling program. Unsure if that’s available in your area? We recommend checking your local department of solid waste’s website or calling them to ask. 

They’ll be able to tell you where you can drop-off your recyclables and what’s accepted for recycling in your area.

What To Do if You Don’t Have Drop-Off Recycling 

If you live in an area that doesn’t have a curbside or drop-off recycling program, you still have some options. We encourage you to reach out to your local department of solid waste to ask for recommendations on private haulers that can come pick up your recyclables.  

Additionally, you can advocate for why a recycling program in your area is important. Recycled paper fibers can be reused 5 to 7 times to make new products. At paper mills across the country, recycled paper is used to make the essential products millions of people use and rely on every day.  

Let your local solid waste department know why recycling matters. 

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recyclable resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative —Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5% of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $350 billion in products annually and employs about 925,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of about $65 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 43 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper