US Paper Recycling Rate drops by 1.9%, yet remains consistent

US paper recycling rate drops

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The US paper recycling rate drops to 66.2% in 2019 while remaining consistent with the figures for the last decade.

American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), in its recent report, declares the recycling of 49 million short tons of fiber products by the US market in 2019. As per the report, the US paper recycling rate drops by 1.9% as compared to that of the record year, 2018.

AF&PA is a national trade association that works to advance the paper and wood products industry. It calculates the recycling rate for both – individual paper grades and all paper types collectively, including OCC, mixed paper, high-grade deinked paper, pulp substitutes, old newspapers, and other mechanical papers.

AF&PA’s US Paper Recycling Data of 2019

  • The Paper recycling rate reduced marginally from 68.1% in 2018 to 66.2% in 2019.
  • Even after reduction, the recycling industry managed to remain consistent with the recycling rate of the past five years. Below are the figures of year-wise US paper recycling rates:
  • The recycled fiber products of 49 million short tons in 2019 was out of the total finished paper products traded in the US market during the year, which amounted to 74 million short tons.
  • The US paper recycling industry recovered 92% of OCC for recycling – 4.2% less than that of 2018 and 3.2% more as compared to 2017. The average rate of OCC recycling for these three years was 92.3%.
  • For the ninth consecutive year, the production capacity of containerboard increased, amounting to an increment of 1.5% to yesteryear.
  • The recovered paper exports dropped by 13.6 percent, especially to China. The country has imposed various import restrictions on recovered fiber.

AF&PA considers the export market disturbances as the prime cause of the US paper recycling rate drops in 2019. Its member companies aim to take the US paper recycling rate above 70% by the end of 2020.

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