Paper accounts for more than a third of all recyclables collected in the U.S., but industry consumption of recovered paper products may be on the decline compared to last year, according to a recent report from the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).
United States recovered paper consumption held steady from July to August but fell in August when compared to last year, according to the report.
Total industry consumption in August was 2.56 million tons, which represents a 6 percent drop when compared to 2010.
So far, recovered paper consumption is down by about 4 percent for the entire year, the trade group said.
The report doesn’t pinpoint specific causes for the drop. But an increase in electronic communication and industries “greening” their practices by cutting down on paper use may be responsible.
While U.S. industrial use of recycled paper is down, recycled paper exports are going way up.
Exports of recovered paper hit a plateau in June and July. But, so far, numbers still increased by 14 percent when compared to last year, according to the report.
AF&PA – a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that represents companies in the forest products industry, including paper recyclers – publishes monthly reports on manufacturing, usage and recycling of paper.
The trade group will continue to monitor U.S. consumption of recycled paper and use findings to inform the paper products industry.
If consumption numbers continue to fall, exporting recovered paper products may be the future for some paper recyclers.