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August 2004

Paper Industry Announces All-Time High Paper Recovery Rate

Washington— The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) an-nounced that more than half (50.3 percent) of the paper consumed in the U.S. during 2003, or 49.3 million tons, was recovered for recycling — a significant milestone in paper recycling history.

This recovery represents an increase of 69 percent since 1990, when only 33.5 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recycled. Currently, Americans recover approximately 339 pounds of paper for every person in the United States, up from 233 pounds per person in 1990. This impressive accomplishment was made possible by the efforts of AF&PA member companies and millions of Americans who recycle at home, work and at school.

“We’re proud of the progress made by both our member companies and the American people in increasing paper recovery,” said W. Henson Moore, President and CEO, AF&PA. “Paper recycling is easy to do, and it’s good for business, the community and the environment. The paper industry will continue to educate Americans about paper recycling and encourage its growth.”

More than 80 percent of all paper mills in the U.S. use recovered paper to make their products with recovered paper representing 37 percent of the raw material used to make new paper and paper products.

Still, greater collection of more high-quality papers is necessary to ensure the continued production of new recycled content paper products. As domestic and export demand for U.S. recovered paper continues to grow, domestic supply will be squeezed by an anticipated 50 percent surge in U.S. exports of recovered paper. Most of that demand will come from Asia, particularly China.

In 2002 AF&PA announced a goal to recover 55 percent of all paper consumed in the U.S. by 2012. To achieve its 55 percent goal, AF&PA has developed integrated public-private sector partnerships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Keep America Beautiful, CarrAmerica and others to educate and encourage towns and cities, office buildings, schools and private citizens to recover more high-quality papers in their communities and workplaces.

U.S. Recycling Facts:
•In 2003 Americans recovered 49.3 million tons of paper for recycling. This represents 50 percent of all paper consumed in the U.S.

•In 2003 recovery of Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) rose to a record high of 75.8 percent, recovery of Old Newspapers (ONP) rose to a record high of 73 percent, and recovery of office papers rose to a record high of 48.3 percent.

•Americans recycle 270 million pounds of paper every day.

•More than 37 percent of the raw material used to make new paper products comes from recycled paper.

•Nearly 80 percent of all U.S. paper makers use recovered fiber to make new paper products.

•Every ton of paper recovered for recycling saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

•Currently more paper is recovered for recycling than landfilled. By weight, more paper is recovered from municipal waste streams for recycling than all glass, plastic and aluminum combined.

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