U.S. paper industry reaches a recycling high in 2021

The American Forest & Paper Association has reported that 68% of all paper consumed in the United States was recycled in 2021 – a rate on par with the highest rate previously achieved.

Additionally, the recycling rate for OCC increased. The rate was 91.4% in 2021, up from the 2020 rate of 88.8%, and overall, a three-year average of 90.5%.

“Paper recycling is stronger than ever and remains an environmental success story,” said Heidi Brock, President & CEO, AF&PA. “In 2021, U.S. paper recycling reached a high rate of achievement. Further evidence that our industry’s investment and public participation in recycling programs are proven and effective.”

She concluded, “Our industry is a leader in sustainability and understands what it means to be a responsible producer. We are investing nearly $5 bn in projects from 2019 through 2024 to use approximately eight million additional tons of recovered fiber. This reflects a longstanding commitment to invest in manufacturing infrastructure using recycled paper and improve the circular nature of our industry.”

For more information about U.S. paper recycling statistics, paper recycling and AF&PA’s commitment to sustainability, visit https://www.afandpa.org/priorities/recycling

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