Paper & Paperboard Recovery

The U.S. paper recovery rate increased by 1.4 percentage points in 2015 to a record-high 66.8 percent. The previous high point of 66.4 percent was recorded in 2011.
 
Domestic consumption of recovered paper at U.S. mills increased 1.2 percent in 2015 to 30.9 million tons, while net recovered paper exports advanced by 2.5 percent to 20.7 million tons.

The paper recovery rate measured 33.5 percent back in 1990, which was the base year against which the American Forest & Paper Association began setting its recovery goals.
 
There are also some domestic uses of recovered paper outside the paper industry, including as base materials for insulation and molded pulp products.

AF&PA member companies have set a goal to increase the U.S. paper recovery rate to more than 70 percent by 2020. The 2015 numbers point to clear progress towards meeting the goal.


 
 
Supply
(000 tons)
Recovered
(000 tons)
   Recovery Rate
1990 86,796 29,112 33.5%
1991 85,071 31,201 36.7%
1992 88,273 33,954 38.5%
1993 91,538 35,460 38.7%
1994 95,718 39,691 41.5%
1995 95,971 42,189 44.0%
1996 94,529 43,076 45.6%
1997 99,557 43,989 44.2%
1998 101,183 45,077 44.6%
1999 105,316 46,818 44.5%
2000 102,810 47,311 46.0%
2001 97,395 46,996 48.3%
2002 98,949 47,645 48.2%
2003 98,018 49,255 50.3%
2004 101,884 50,187 49.3%
2005 99,613 51,272 51.5%
2006 100,665 53,314 53.0%
2007 97,007 54,325 56.0%
2008 89,838 51,822 57.7%
2009 78,711 50,036 63.6%
2010 81,784 51,545 63.0%
2011 79,444 52,767 66.4%
2012  78,619 51,092  65.0% 
2013 78,761 50,128 63.6%
2014 78,206 51,171 65.4%
2015  77,895   52,040   66.8%