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Why Preferences for Paper Matter in the Digital Age

In an increasingly digital world, paper continues to offer many advantages. 

From permanent record-keeping to accessibility and sustainability, paper provides a range of benefits that make it a valuable option. 

Let’s explore why preferences for paper matter.


Paper can provide a tangible and lasting record. Many digital files are susceptible to accidental deletion, data corruption, or technology failures.

Documents such as legal contracts, historical archives and medical records are frequently printed on paper to ensure permanence.  

With proper storage and maintenance, paper-based records can withstand the test of time. 


Paper offers an accessible option. Not only can writing on paper increase comprehension, but it can also facilitate communication between hearing and hearing impaired or Deaf groups.

Blind and Deaf-Blind communities can also utilize paper for braille and learning opportunities better experienced through touch.

Digital divides still exist, and according to the Federal Communications Commission 25% of rural Americans do not have access to broadband.

Assistive technology, while convenient and forward-thinking, is a privilege and should not be considered the baseline. Paper-based learning materials, in addition to providing cognitive benefits, also provide a much-needed break from the digital world.


Paper options are a sustainable choice. And the paper industry is working to advance sustainability through innovation and efforts, like:

  • Sustainable Forest Management 

  • Efficient Manufacturing 

  • Use of Renewable Biomass Energy 

  • Sustainable Water Management 

  • Paper Recycling 

Paper is also one of the most widely recycled materials in the United States. The paper industry actively invests in recycling infrastructure and encourages recycling best practices. 

Sustainable practices are the foundation of the paper industry. 

In a world where innovation and tradition meet, paper remains useful and beneficial every single day.  

Even as digital advancements emerge, the key to unlocking the future includes paper options.

A mix of paper recyclables in a recycling bin

What the Paper Industry is Doing to Improve Recycling

The paper recycling rate has met or exceeded 63% every year since 2009. Paper recycling is a model that works because of the industry’s investment and the millions of people who recycle every day. Read what we’re doing to continue to improve paper recycling.

Individual uses a pen to sketch in a notebook.

The History of Paper

Before paper as we know it existed, people communicated through pictures and symbols carved into tree bark, painted on cave walls, and marked on papyrus or clay tablets. Then, paper came along.

Shredded Paper

How Do You Recycle Shredded Paper?

Can you recycle shredded paper? Yes, but shredding it makes the paper less likely to be recycled if small bits of paper aren't properly contained. Only shred things with sensitive information to protect your privacy.

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