Where Recycled Paper Goes
Data for the year 2019 indicate that 37.8 percent of the paper and paperboard recycled in the U.S. went to produce containerboard (i.e., the material used for corrugated boxes) and 12.2 percent went to produce boxboard, which includes base stock for folding boxes like cereal or medicine boxes, and gypsum wallboard (i.e., drywall) facings.
Net exports of recovered paper to China and other nations accounted for 35.7 percent of the paper collected for recycling in the U.S. in 2019, down from 38.3 percent in 2018.
Source: Annual Capacity and Fiber Consumption Survey; U.S. Bureau of Census
|Paper/Packaging Type ||Thousand Tons Recycled ||Share of Total |
|Tissue ||4,150 ||8.4% |
|Containerboard ||18,605 ||37.8% |
|Boxboard ||6,004 ||12.2% |
|Newsprint & Other* ||2,844 ||5.7% |
|Net Exports ||17,574 ||35.7% |
|Total ||49,177 ||100% |
*Other includes printing-writing, Kraft packaging & Industrial converting, construction paper and board, molded pulp