The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) released the results of its 2008 paper recovery rates survey this week, highlighting a record U.S. high of 57.4 percent, up from 56 percent in 2007. The AF&PA credited the 2008 recovery rate growth to strong global demand for recovered fiber in the first three quarters of 2008, along with a sound recycling infrastructure and commitment of millions of Americans.
“Recycling is one of America’s great environmental success stories and the paper industry is proud to have played a central role in the significant growth in paper recovery in recent years,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.
The AF&PA noted that recovery rates dropped sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008 due to the economic downturn, making a 1.4 percent growth substantial.
The record high represents a significant step in paper recycling, however AF&PA cautions that the paper recovery rates are likely to stop moving forward as a result of the economic downturn.
“It’s important that in the wake of the global recession, the resulting decline in paper demand and the decline in value of recovered paper, that we protect both our infrastructure and personal commitment to recycling, so that we are prepared to again meet growing demand as the market rebounds,” Harman said.
Recognizing Recycling Efforts
In conjunction with the paper recovery release, AF&PA announced the winners of their 2009 Paper Recycling Awards, which highlights outstanding paper recycling programs throughout the country. The winners include:
- AF&PA School Recycling Award: Wake County Public School System, Wake County, N.C. Wake County’s Department of Environmental Services’ FEED THE BIN paper recycling program provides recycling services to over 150 local schools. During the 2007-2008 school year, 800 tons of paper were collected for recycling.
- AF&PA College/University Recycling Award: Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Stanford students recovered 3,000 tons of paper for recycling and earned an estimated $450,000 in revenue from its recyclables.
- AF&PA Community Recycling Award: Orange County, N.C. In 2008, the 128,000 residents of Orange County, N.C. recovered an estimated 8,750 tons of paper due to a comprehensive education and outreach recycling campaign.
- AF&PA Business Leadership Recycling Award: Giant Eagle, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa. In 2008, Giant Eagle collected nearly 555 tons of mixed office paper and more than 42,000 tons of corrugated containers for recycling.
“In these tough economic times it is more important than ever to highlight the recycling programs that are making a difference,” Harman said. “AF&PA appreciates the on-going dedication of Americans who recycle every day, and we congratulate the award winners for their achievements.”