WHAT IS IT
Recovered fiber, also known as paper and board, is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world. Scrap paper includes not just writing or computer paper, but newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes as well.
Used paper is collected for paper recycling in Ponte a Serraglio near Bagni di Lucca, Italy. Photo by H005, July 27, 2009. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
HOW IS IT USED
Nearly 77% of all U.S. papermakers use some recovered paper to make everything from newspaper to paper packaging to office paper. In the U.S., the number one use for recycled paper goods is making “containerboard,” used for things like corrugated boxes. The other leading uses for recycled paper goods in America are boxboard, tissue, and newsprint/kraft paper.
Newspaper recycling box, Salem Oregon. Photo by Katherine H., March 17, 2007. Courtesy of Flickr.
WHAT IS ITS VALUE
Making new paper products from scrap paper results in significant energy and water use savings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when compared to producing 1 ton of virgin wood pulp, recycled paper uses 64% less energy and 50% less water; produces 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution and saves 17 trees!
Recycling cardboard at Camp Pendleton. Photo by Lance Cpl. Michelle Brinn, March 5, 2012. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
The paper recycling segment of the scrap industry was valued at more than $8.1 billion in 2017.
The US uses 85 million+ tons of paper and board a year, about 700 pounds per person, and recycles over 30 million tons.