Where Recovered Paper Goes

Data for the year 2016 indicate that 33.7 percent of the paper and paperboard recovered in the U.S. went to produce containerboard (i.e., the material used for corrugated boxes) and 11.8 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 40 percent of the paper collected for recycling in the U.S. in 2016.

2016 Where Recovered Paper Goes

Paper/Packaging Type Thousand Tons Recovered Share of Total
Newsprint 209 0.4%
Tissue 4,372 8.4%
Containerboard 17,589 33.7%
Boxboard 6,177 11.8%
Other 2,986 5.7%
Net Exports 20,863 40.0%
Total 52,196 100%

2016 Data: Annual AF&PA Fiber Survey; U.S. Bureau of Census