US paper recycling in 2020 at 66%, OCC consumption at 22.2 million tons by November 2021, containerboard production in 2021 up 5.6% from year-ago as ninth increase in past 10 years; industry's US$5B investment to increase paper recovery 25% by 2023: AF&PA

Sample article from our Pulp & Paper Industry

WASHINGTON , January 18, 2022 (press release) –

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today released preliminary 2021 data from U.S. paper and paperboard mills indicating record containerboard production, the material used to make cardboard boxes.  

The preliminary data indicates total containerboard production in 2021 increased 5.6 percent compared to 2020, the ninth increase in the past 10 years. 
 
“Paper products and materials like containerboard help to meet the needs of consumers seeking sustainable choices,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “These are some of the most-recycled materials in the United States – in fact, more paper by weight is recycled from municipal waste streams than plastic, glass, steel and aluminum combined.”

Based on this information, the consumption of old-corrugated containers (OCC) may also reach record numbers with data to be published by AF&PA on Thursday, January 20, 2022. 

OCC consumption is strongly tied to production of containerboard, and through November 2021 consumption already reached 22.2 million tons, just shy of the previous full-year record set in 2020. 

“Consumer demand is growing for sustainable paper products, and our industry is investing to meet evolving customer and consumer needs,” Brock said. “AF&PA members are dedicated to advancing the circular economy and our shared commitment to sustainability, as demonstrated by our Better Practices Better Planet 2030 goals.” 

Paper recycling rates have grown over time and remain consistently high, meeting or exceeding 63 percent since 2009. In 2020, nearly 66 percent of paper was recycled. 
 
“Paper recycling is a success story,” Brock said. “That’s because of the industry’s investments, education efforts, the wide availability of paper recycling programs, and the many millions of Americans who recycle each day.” 
 
The paper industry has completed or announced around $5 billion in manufacturing infrastructure investments from 2019-2023 to continue the best use of recycled fiber in our products. These investments will help increase the amount of recovered paper used by U.S. paper and paperboard mills by approximately 8 million tons – a 25 percent increase over 2020 levels.

# # # 

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

CONTACT: Tim Ebner
(202) 463-2587, comm@afandpa.org

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

More from our Pulp & Paper Industry Coverage
See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

We offer built-to-order pulp & paper industry coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.