Research Reports

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) 2014 Community Access Survey (2014 Survey) shows that 96 percent of Americans have access to curbside and/or drop-off community-level paper and paperboard recycling. Access increased for each of the 12 grades of paper and paperboard included in the survey; access for nine of the 12 grades is now at or above 90 percent. Since 1994, AF&PA has performed a series of national surveys to measure the extent and track the growth of access to community-level paper and paperboard recycling. This Executive Summary presents background information on the survey methodology and highlights notable findings of the 2014 Survey, as well as trends from prior years. Complete details can be found in the report.

Press Releases

AF&PA Announces Record-High 2011 Paper Recovery Rate and Winners of the 2012 Paper Recycling Awards

Mar 26, 2012
Jessica McFaul (202) 463-2463

NEW YORK - The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today announced the 2011 recovery rate of paper consumed in the U.S., which has reached a record-high 66.8 percent. The recovery rate, along with winners of its 2012 Recycling Awards, was announced at the industry's annual event - Paper2012 - in New York City.

The level of paper recovery for recycling achieved in 2011 is nearly double the industry benchmark of 33.5 percent set in 1990, the year the industry established its first recovery goal. Recovering paper for recycling helps extend the life of paper and paper-based packaging products and is an integral part of the industry's sustainable practices.

Today's announcement is the first since AF&PA established a new goal to exceed 70 percent paper recovery by 2020 as part of its comprehensive sustainability initiative: Better Practices, Better Planet 2020.

"To have nearly doubled our industry's recovery rate in just two decades is an amazing achievement," said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "Paper recovery for recycling is an important part of our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative, and I am proud of the commitment our industry continues to make toward increasing paper recovery and building on our legacy of sustainability leadership."

AF&PA annually recognizes new and innovative programs that aim to increase the amount of paper recovered for recycling through the AF&PA Recycling Awards. Awards are given in three categories: Business Leadership, Community and School.

"Such heights in paper recovery are made possible by the efforts in communities, schools and businesses across the country, as exhibited by our award winners for 2012," Harman said. "Our award winners' achievements are models for how all of us can better the communities in which we live."

AF&PA received more than 200 applications from 42 states. This year's winners each receive a $2,000 cash prize, a piece of original paper art, and will be featured on the awards program website,

2012 AF&PA Recycling Award Winners

  • Business Leadership Award - One American Center - Thomas Properties Group, Austin, Texas
    One American Center is a 32-story office building in downtown Austin. Through an education campaign and open communication with the recycling hauler and janitorial staff, One American Center tenants recovered approximately 505 pounds of paper and paper-based packaging per tenant in 2011 totaling 145,000 pounds with an additional 208,000 pounds of shredded confidential files.
  • Community Recycling Award - Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NAS Whidbey Island) - Oak Harbor, Wash.
    NAS Whidbey Island successfully recovered 2,664,000 pounds of paper and paper-based packaging in 2011, averaging 222 pounds per person, with a running five-year total of more than 7,300 tons. Organizers credit a multi-prong approach to outreach that includes annual educational opportunities, community events, and the sharing of best practices through publications, meetings, and personal interactions.
  • School Recycling Award - Perry High School, Perry, Ohio
    Perry High School's 600 students and faculty recovered 280,000 pounds of paper and paper-based packaging in 2011, an average of 466 pounds per person. As the responsibility and brain-child of a variety of student groups, the program services both the campus and the community. Education, outreach, and local partnerships have all been integral to the program's success.

Each year, the AF&PA Recycling Awards recognize paper recycling programs across the country that inspire and educate communities on increasing paper recovery for recycling. For more information about the 2012 winners, case studies on previous winners' programs, background information, free classroom resources and more, visit

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The American Forest & Paper Association is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturers, and forest landowners.  Our companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources that sustain the environment.  The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP.  Industry companies produce about $175 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries.  The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.  Visit AF&PA online at