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AF&PA Details U.S. Paper Production and Capacity Trends

Key findings released in the 63rd Paper Industry Capacity and Fiber Consumption Survey

CONTACT: Tim Ebner / Clara Cozort 
(202) 463-2587, 

WASHINGTON — The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), today, released the 63rd Paper Industry Capacity and Fiber Consumption Survey. The report provides detailed data on U.S. paper industry capacity and production compiled by AF&PA’s statistics team. 

U.S. paper and paperboard capacity declined slightly by 0.4% in 2022, to 81.0 million tons. That compares to an average decline of 0.9% per year since 2013.

The U.S. paper industry continues to respond to shifting demands by converting paper machines to produce packaging grades, supporting U.S. manufacturing jobs and sustaining local communities, as well as increasing the use of recovered fiber. 

U.S. paper and paperboard production declined 3.3% last year, with boxboard increasing, containerboard and printing-writing declining, and tissue staying about the same.

U.S. Paper-Based Packaging Capacity

Containerboard capacity declined 0.6% in 2022. Containerboard’s share of total paper and paperboard capacity continued to exceed 50%.

Meanwhile, boxboard capacity rose 2.4% percent in 2022. There have been 3 announcements of plans to add boxboard capacity in 2025 or later to meet demand for paper-based consumer packaging.

U.S. Printing-Writing and Tissue Capacity

Printing-writing capacity declined 0.7% in 2022 as the sector rebounded from averaging a double-digit decline during 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A printing-writing machine was restarted, with no capacity closures reported. 

Tissue capacity declined 0.4% in 2022. From a longer-term perspective, capacity increased at an average annual rate of 0.7% from 2013 to 2022.

What is Capacity?

Capacity is the tonnage of paper, paperboard or pulp that could be produced with full use of equipment and adequate supplies of raw materials and labor, and assuming full demand. 

AF&PA’s Capacity Survey details U.S. industry capacity data for 2022 and 2023 for all major grades of paper, paperboard and pulp, as well as fiber consumption. It is based on a comprehensive survey of U.S. pulp and paper mills. It includes production data for 2022. 

AF&PA data represents about 88% of U.S. paper and paperboard industry capacity, with estimates completing the data set.

How to Purchase the AF&PA Capacity Survey?

The complete Survey is available for purchase online. Please visit our website or contact or 202-463-4716 for this report and other industry reports.

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