Where Recovered Paper Goes

Data for the year 2017 indicate that 36.0 percent of the paper and paperboard recovered in the U.S. went to produce containerboard (i.e., the material used for corrugated boxes) and 12.0 percent went to produce boxboard, which includes basestock for folding boxes and gypsum wallboard facings.

Net exports of recovered paper to China and other nations accounted for 37.7 percent of the paper collected for recycling in the U.S. in 2017, down from 40 percent in 2016.


Where Recovered Paper Goes

Paper/Packaging Type Thousand Tons Recovered Share of Total
Newsprint 86 0.2%
Tissue 4,206 8.3%
Containerboard 18,317 36.0%
Boxboard 6,099 12.0%
Other 2,956 5.8%
Net Exports 19,159 37.7%
Total 50,822 100%

2017 Data: Annual AF&PA Fiber Survey; U.S. Bureau of Census