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Paper Recycling Hits Record High

Date: April 1, 2008

Source: American Forest & Paper Association

Industry Meets Goal Ahead of Schedule, Sets New Aggressive Target

In 2007, an all-time high of 56 percent of the paper consumed in America was recovered for recycling, achieving a significant industry goal five years ahead of schedule. Announcing the achievement today, the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) also set a new goal of 60 percent recovery by 2012.

"Industry is demonstrating a real commitment to environmental sustainability by continuing to set and achieve aggressive paper recovery goals," said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "Whether at home, school, or work, paper recovery is something we can all do to make a difference."

"While the upward trend in recovery rates is most encouraging, getting to 60 percent is an important challenge for all of us. Everyone has a role to play in our effort to sustain and grow the country's recycling programs and recover more paper," continued Patrick J. Moore, chairman and CEO, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. Smurfit-Stone is a longstanding AF&PA member and is one of the world's largest paper recyclers. The company collected more than 7 million tons of recyclable material in 2007.

The 54.3 million tons of paper recovered in 2007 add up to more than 360 pounds for every man, woman, and child in America. Each percentage point is the equivalent of approximately one million additional tons of recovered paper enough to fill more than 14,000 railroad cars.

Joining the announcement at the industry's 131st Annual Paper Week conference, Maria Vickers, Deputy Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste applauded the paper industry's achievements in increasing paper recycling, noting that "in 2007, the US recycled over 25 million tons more paper than was recycled in 1990. This increase in paper recycling reduced emissions by more than 97 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, comparable to the annual emissions of nearly 18 million cars." She also noted that EPA and AF&PA continue to work together on projects to stimulate paper recycling across the country.

Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, a partner of AF&PA on projects to promote paper recycling in schools, praised the Association and its members for their efforts. "True environmental progress, like what we celebrate today, comes when industries work together with communities, organizations, and dedicated individuals to make things happen."

AF&PA is the national trade association of the forest, paper, and wood products industry. AF&PA represents companies and related associations that engage in or represent the manufacture of pulp, paper, paperboard, and wood products. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 6 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing output, employs more than one million people, and ranks among the top 10 manufacturing employers in 42 states with an estimated payroll exceeding $50 billion. Visit AF&PA online at

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