U.S. Paper Recycling Rates Hit New High

NEW YORK, NY — Paper recovery and recycling continues to grow more rapidly than even industry experts can predict, continuing a trend we've reported in our State of Green Business report for the past three years.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), an industry association that tracks paper use, released its 2009 figures for paper recovery and recycling, and found that a record-high 63.4 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered last year for recycling.

The achievement marks the continuation of big leaps in the percentage of paper recovered, even as the overall amount of paper used declines. By surpassing 60 percent recovery, the AF&PA has surpassed its goal three years early.

"Recycling is one of America's great environmental success stories and the paper industry is proud of our ongoing leadership role in this arena," AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman said in a statement. "Today's announcement is a testament to the work of the industry and the commitment of millions of Americans who recycle at home, school and work on a daily basis."

The early achievement of the recovery goal is another ongoing trend in paper recovery. As we wrote in the State of Green Business report this year:

The American Forest and Paper Association, an industry trade group, has been setting goals for recycling rates since 1990 -- and handily achieving them. The group set a target of 55 percent in 2005, but surpassed it so quickly that a new goal of 60 percent by 2012 goal was put in place. The box below shows current recovery rates at 57.4 percent, putting the latest target within easy reach.

 


A report published earlier this year showed how companies can save millions by going paperless, while office supply firms are working to green their product lines for customers. The nonprofit group Forest Ethics in 2009 ranked the office supply industry on green paper issues, putting FedEx Office in first place and Xpedx and Spicers in last place.

Photo CC-licensed by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan.