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Nearly 68% 

Nearly 68% 

of paper was
recycled in 2022



of Americans have access to paper recycling programs

About 80%

About 80%

of U.S. mills use some recycled paper

Paper. It Recycles. 

Brown paper packages arriving this holiday season? Send them to the recycling bin! We give new purpose to cardboard boxes, paper-padded mailers and paper packaging by recycling them. Even pizza boxes!

Did you know paper recycling is stronger than ever? We maintain high recycling rates - nearly 68% for all paper and more than 93% for cardboard in 2022.

Paper products, including cardboard boxes, are also widely accepted for recycling across the United States. 94% of Americans have access to community paper and paperboard recycling programs.

After you put your paper packaging in the recycling bin, our mills use it to make new products. In 2022, approximately 80% of all U.S. mills used some recycled paper to make things like cardboard boxes, pizza boxes and even toilet paper.

The Paper Industry’s Continued Commitment to Paper Recycling 

Our industry voluntarily set a goal to help improve paper recycling back in the 1990s. The recycling rate has doubled since that time. Here’s how we’re committed to continuing to improve paper recycling. 

Sustainability Goals

We’ve set a goal to increase the use of secondary materials like recycled paper to 50% by 2030. This means the industry will use even more recycled paper in manufacturing! 

MRF Ownership

We have an ownership stake in the recycling system. AF&PA members own and operate more than 100 materials recovery facilities nationwide. 


Nearly $7 billion in investments, planned or announced (2019-2025), will use more than 9 million tons of recycled fiber. 

Are You Recycling Paper and Cardboard Correctly?

You're also part of the paper recycling success story. You can help by:

  • Checking your local government’s website to understand what’s accepted for recycling in your area. When you put the wrong things in the recycling bin, that’s wishcycling and it does more harm than good. 
  • Keeping paper products clean and dry before putting them in your recycling bin. 
  • Asking your local government to accept products like pizza boxes and paper-padded mailers. Send them our guidance!

And when it comes to cardboard boxes, sleigh recycling with these 3 steps:

  • Empty your box
  • Break it down flat
  • Put it in your recycling bin

Explore More About Paper Recycling

How do I recycle cardboard boxes?

Is Cardboard Recyclable?

Do you know what to do about labels on your box or if your box gets wet? Learn more about cardboard recycling.

A snowy scene. The text reads, "How do I recycle paper padded mailers?"

Are Paper Padded Mailers Recyclable?

The answer depends on what type of mailer you received. Dive in to learn more.

A snowy scene. The text reads, "How Do I Recycle During the Holidays?"

Recycling Paper During the Holidays

What to know about recycling wrapping paper, cards, cards with glitter and other paper items during the holidays.