Paper Recycling

Basic paper recycling facts

As paper accounts for the largest percentage of U.S. solid waste, paper recycling has a huge impact on our landfills while reducing the need to use more wood to produce new paper. Through the paper recycling process, we can save energy and resources, reduce emissions including water pollutants and greenhouse gases, and create employment opportunities in greener technologies.

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Paper Recycling Facts

The good news is that people and companies in the U.S. are making a dedicated effort in recycling paper as part of a conscientious waste recycling program:

  • In 2006, 53 percent of the paper which was used made it into the recycling system.
  • The U.S. paper industry has set a goal of increasing this number to 60 percent by the year 2012.
  • Over 37 percent of the fiber used to make new paper comes from recycled sources.
  • Approximately 254 million (or 86 percent) of U.S. citizens have access either to curbside or to drop-off paper, cardboard and plastic recycling programs.

Recycling Paper at Home

It is simple to create a recycling-friendly household by placing containers for paper recycling next to ordinary waste baskets. It is easier to put recyclables in their own container than it is to go through your trash later to separate items. Having one large container for recyclable paper in the garage is not the best solution, as household members aren't likely to walk that far to dispose of their paper.

If curbside recycling pickup is not yet an option in your neighborhood, there is most likely a nearby drop-off recycling center that would be convenient for you to visit when necessary. When you're out shopping, make an effort to buy recycled paper products. By sending your paper waste to be recycled and then looking for recycled paper content in the products you purchase, you are truly helping to complete the "cycle"!

Recycling Paper in the Workplace

The place where you work may not be fully on board with recycling efforts, because often people who recycle diligently at home relax their efforts once they enter their workplace. If you work in an office environment, the amount of paper waste that is produced can be large, but workplaces are also well-suited for recycling programs. To initiate an effective office paper recycling program, enlist the help of co-workers who are enthusiastic about the idea. Work through a recycling plan together (including cardboard recycling), and pay attention to details such as what containers will be used to collect the paper and cardboard and how the recycled paper products will get to the recycling center.

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