How does innovation with paper and paper-based packaging materials play a part in caring for the environment?

When good ideas start on paper, and innovation with the material follows, it’s nice to know that choosing and using this highly recyclable, reusable and renewable material actually helps all of us do our part for the environment.

Recycling: Paper material is one of the most recycled on the planet. Ninety-six percent of American households having direct access to paper recycling. Paper material can be recycled up to seven times, keeping it out of landfills and helping create products made with recycled content.

What recycles? White and colored paper (crumpled or flat!), cereal and shoe boxes and other cardboard, mail and envelopes, boxes used for medicine and cosmetics, milk cartons, magazines, shopping bags, and corrugated cardboard boxes! While every city or town is different, chances are you can do your part! Simply check with your locality.

Forests: According to the latest USDA data, American forests are growing, not shrinking, in large part thanks to the paper and packaging industries. Demand for forest products helps ensure landowners are incentivized to steward forestland responsibly, for long-term sustainability. By contrast, when demand for forest products decreases, the risk of deforestation increases, as forestland becomes vulnerable to commercial and residential development.

Trees: More trees are planted annually in the U.S. than are harvested by the forest products industry. Currently, 1.2 billion trees are planted per year according to the U.S. Forest Service. Today, the United States has 20 percent more trees than it did on the first Earth Day celebration more than 40 years ago. One-third of the United States is forested — 751 million acres.

The Industry: The companies supporting the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds™ campaign are the same paper and packaging companies actively working toward a slate of six major environmental goals set by the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) in addition to their individual company goals. Fiber recovery and recycling has increased by 76 percent since 1990, and about two-thirds (64%) of all paper and packaging is now recycled. Our companies are committed to further increasing that rate by 2020. (

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