Get the Facts About Paper Recovery and Recycling

If you wonder if your paper recycling efforts are making an impact, check out the new Paper Recovery and Recycling fact sheet from Two Sides North America.

According to fact sheet, the recovery rate for paper and paper-based products in the United States reached 68.1% in 2018. Corrugated boxes had a recovery rate of 96.4%.

Two Sides: Paper Recovery and Recycling Fact Sheet

The fact sheet points out that “Paper recycling not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, it also extends the supply of wood fiber, saves landfill space and often decreases the amount of energy needed to produce new products.”

Here are some other highlights from the fact sheet:

Almost 80% of all U.S. paper mills use recovered fibers to make paper-based packaging, tissue products, office paper, and more.

Assuming that more recycled fiber in every product and paper grade is always better for the environment is not always correct. It is true only for lower grades of paper such as paperboard and cardboard. For the high-end paper grades used in printing and writing, it might take more energy and chemicals to recycle used paper than to use fiber from sustainably grown forests.

Overall, a maximum of 67% to 73% of fibrous inputs used to make paper products can be supplied by waste paper; the rest needs to be virgin fibers. This is because at least 15% of paper products are permanently removed from the fiber cycle to make one-time-use products such as tissues, sanitary products, and medical supplies. Some paper is also used to make books or files that are stored for long periods of time.

Paper can be recycled an average of 4 to 6 times. Each time recycling occurs, the fibers become shorter and weaker. So, some virgin pulp must be introduced into paper production to maintain the strength and quality of the fiber.

Two Sides is a global initiative to promote the sustainability of the graphics communications industry and dispel common environmental misperceptions. Two Sides publishes verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.

Information on the Twp Sides website dispels these common myths:

  • Going paperless saves forests
  • Paper is bad for the environment
  • Electronic communications is more environmentally friendly than paper
  • Paper production is a major cause of global greenhouse emissions.

To learn more, visit:

Click here to download the Paper Recycling and Recovery Fact Sheet.