The Future of Recycling

Person holding a sign with a recycling symbol

Sustainability isn’t one big thing. It’s lots of little things. 

There’s nowhere that’s truer than with the makers of paper and packaging that the big things we’re doing for the future of recycling are only possible because of the billions of individual decisions that people like you make every day. 

The way you’re mindful about not just how much energy you’re using or what you buy, but how it’s packaged, how it gets to you, and what happens to it after you use it.

That’s where recycling comes in. That’s where the makers of paper and packaging come in.

Sustainability, resource stewardship, the circular economy—they’re not just buzzwords or virtue signals. They’re at the core of what the paper and packaging industry does and has done it for decades.

Recycling plant surrounded by trees
The Juno Recycling Plant in Toledo, Oregon.

Lots of research tells us that people like you choose paper and paper-based packaging when they’re thinking about sustainability. And that’s not just because our products are made from one of nature’s most renewable resources—trees. It’s because the paper and packaging industry simply couldn’t exist without an unwavering commitment to sustainability, and to recycling in particular.

For all these decades, paper-based products have remained some of the most recycled materials on the planet. We recover about two-thirds of all the paper used in America each year, and about 90% of all boxes, to turn them into new products. Not just once, or twice, but as many as seven times.


2/3 of paper recycled

We recover about two-thirds of all the paper used in America each year.



And about 90% of boxes used in America each year.


7 billion

All the while our industry has invested nearly $7 billion in recycling infrastructure. 

At a time when people have serious and lingering concerns about whether other materials are really recyclable—or about what really happens to them when you put them in the recycling bin —paper has been an unarguable success story, meeting people’s needs while answering the call for a more circular, sustainable economy.

workers at a recycling plant
The paper and packaging industry invests in our recycling systems

In our new video, you’ll see two examples of the billions our industry is investing nationwide to protect and expand recycling for the next 100 years.

That includes the newest, biggest, and most high-tech recycled paper mill in North American from Graphic Packaging International in Kalamazoo, Michigan; and a bold and potentially game-changing experimental facility from Georgia-Pacific in Toledo, Oregon, where a paper company is recycling not just paper and boxes but turning piles of ordinary household garbage into useful new products. 

I've taken pride in that by recovering these materials, we're kind of creating a better environment for our kids, grandkids.
Staff at the recycling plant
Industry members who are helping make strides in recycling every day. 

You’ll also meet some of the individual people who keep these facilities running smoothly, and learn about the unique pride they have in waking up each morning to go to a job that’s making the world a little better for future generations.  

Their individual contributions, like yours, are what makes recycling possible. No single decision you make is going to make or break the planet or its future, of course, but each of them matters. They add up.

So choose paper-based products, and recycle them the right way.

Go Papertarian for the Planet

Papertarian planet

Go Papertarian for the Planet

One trait all papertarians have in common is a deep love of forests. We know that choosing paper-based products and packaging is the easiest way to take care of them—and to do right by the planet.

Papertarian planet