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2021 AF&PA Access to Recycling Study

AF&PA commissioned the 2021 Access to Recycling Study. The study is a comprehensive national report that tracks and measures the growth of access to community and paperboard recycling in the U.S.

The study shows 94% of Americans have access to community paper recycling programs. And 79% of Americans have access to residential-curbside recycling programs. That’s an increase of about 14 million people since 2014, the last time we conducted a study.

Many paper products used every day across the U.S. have a high community access rate of 80% or more. Meaning things like cardboard boxes, newspapers, paper bags, pizza boxes and magazines are widely accepted for recycling. 

Download the 2021 AF&PA Access to Recycling Study

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Paper Padded Mailers

Paper padded mailers are an innovative, sustainable and recyclable package. In a member survey, AF&PA members confirmed these new mailers are recycled every day at paper mills across the country. 

AF&PA encourages communities to include paper padded mailers in their residential recycling programs. We’re also working with stakeholders to communicate to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and recycling haulers that these mailers are routinely recycled at our paper mills.

Download AF&PA’s industry statement on paper padded mailers.

Pizza Boxes

There is a lot of confusion about recycling pizza boxes, but pizza boxes are recyclable! Cardboard pizza boxes are successfully recycled every day at paper mills.

AF&PA is working with stakeholders to communicate to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and recycling haulers that pizza boxes are recyclable and routinely recycled at paper mills across the country.

Download AF&PA’s industry statement on both pizza box recycling and WestRock’s study.

Read WestRock’s study on the impact of grease on recycling pizza boxes.

Design Guidance for Recyclability

We developed the Design Guidance for Recyclability of Paper-based Packaging. This tool helps packaging manufacturers, designers and brands create and manufacture packaging that meets their recyclability goals.

Download the Design Guidance

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