The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) is a leader in championing paper recovery for recycling and has been for more than two decades. They serve to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020.
The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures over $200 billion in products annually, and employs approximately 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.
Through Better Practices, Better Planet 2020, one of the most extensive sets of quantifiable sustainability goals of any major U.S. manufacturing industry, AF&PA members have made great strides to continue their proven performance and push to new heights. AF&PA is proud to represent member companies who take seriously their commitment to sustainability. The six targeted AF&PA Sustainability Goals are listed below, with the first one dedicated to paper recovery.
AF&PA Sustainability Goals
- Exceed 70 percent rate of paper recovery for recycling by 2020.
- Improve AF&PA members’ purchased energy efficiency use by at least 10 percent from 2005 to 2020.
- Reduce AF&PA members’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 15 percent from 2005 to 2020.
- Increase the amount of fiber procured from certified forestlands, or through certified fiber sourcing programs, in the U.S. from 2005 to 2020.
- A 25 percent improvement in workplace injury incidence rates from 2006 to 2020, with a long-term vision of zero injuries.
- Reduce water use in members’ pulp and paper mills by 12 percent from 2005 to 2020.
Paper Recovery Goals
The U.S. paper recovery rate rose to 65.4 percent in 2014, up from 63.5 percent in 2013. And, the U.S. paper recovery rate has reached or exceeded 63 percent each year since 2009. That’s great news for the environment and for the paper industry. In fact, the annual paper recovery rate has nearly doubled since 1990, making it a true environmental success story.
AF&PA member companies' use of recovered fiber results in avoided greenhouse gas emissions of more than 20 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents each year. Approximately 79 percent of all U.S. papermakers use some recovered paper to make everything from paper based packaging to tissue products to office paper and newspaper.
AF&PA leads a variety of efforts to encourage and increase paper recovery for recycling.
AF&PA is currently investing in public-private partnerships to build community recycling infrastructure and improve consumer recycling education. In addition, working with its members and other recycling industry stakeholders, it is developing recommendations on action that AF&PA can take to further promote increased paper recovery for recycling.
AF&PA Paper Recycles Website
Recycling advocates have benefited greatly from AF&PA’s Paper Recycling website. Its mission is to promote increased paper recovery for recycling by raising awareness about the importance of recycling, educating key stakeholders about the success of the voluntary paper recovery system, and providing tools and resources to help communities, businesses and schools start or improve paper recycling programs.
Resources on the website include:
- Recycling guides specific to workplace, school and community environments;
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about paper recycling;
- Improving Paper Recycling video
- A paper-making video; and
- Think Before You Shred! A guide to shredding and recycling paper.
Why AF&PA is a NERC Member
Recycling is, of course, a central focus of AF&PA. The industry’s paper recovery rate was 65.4 percent in 2014. Stated Brian Hawkinson, Executive Director of Recovered Fiber, “Becoming a Sustaining Advisory Member of NERC is another way for AF&PA to show its commitment to recycling. With a goal of exceeding 70 percent recovery by 2020, it’s important that we continue to grow our connections with others in recycling and develop new and innovative ways to capture paper and paper products for recovery.”
And the future for AF&PA and its members? Mr. Hawkinson remarks that “Our industry will continue to nurture an environment that promotes increased paper recovery.Innovation in manufacturing processes and products will also continue to be a focus, along with adapting to market changes and striving to meet the industry’s sustainability goals. Our members envision a forest products industry that is fully sustainable, has profitable long-term growth, and continues to reduce its environmental footprint.”