Sustainability

Paper-based packaging is renewable, recyclable, and sustainable.

Renewable

  • Paper-based packaging comes from an infinitely renewable resource — originating from materials that are sustainably grown, managed and harvested specifically for the paper industry to produce sustainable packaging.
  • For the past 100 years, total forest area has been relatively stable and grew by roughly 2 million acres from 2007 to 2012.
  • One-third of the United States is forested - 751 million acres.
  • Privately-owned forests supply 91 percent of the wood harvested in the U.S. State and tribal forests supply approximately 6 percent and federal forests supply only 2 percent of the wood used by the forest products industry.
  • The most recent report from the U.S. Forest Service indicates that more than 3.2 million trees are planted per day in the U.S.
  • Twenty percent of timberland in the U.S. is certified to credible third-party verified forest certification systems.

Recyclable

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more paper (by weight) is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than glass, plastic, steel and aluminum combined.
  • Since 1990, when the industry established its first recovery goal to advance recycling, the annual U.S. paper recovery rate has nearly doubled.
  • In 2015, 66.8 percent of all paper consumed in America was recovered for recycling.
  • In 2015, 92.9 percent of corrugated packaging/kraft papers were recovered for recycling.
  • Paper packaging accounts for nearly three-quarters of all packaging materials recovered for recycling, totaling about 29 million tons.
  • In 2014, 96 percent of the U.S. population had access to community curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling programs.

Sustainable

  • Through SFI, FSC and other sustainability programs, the paper and paper-based packaging industries are using sustainable forestry principles to meet today's needs without compromising the future of our forests or forest products. For more information on sustainable forestry programs, visit www.sfiprogram.org and www.fsc.org.
  • Wood wastes and byproducts of the pulping process are routinely converted to energy, reducing our industry's reliance on high-priced, nonrenewable fossil fuels.
  • The sustainable use of forest products manufacturing residuals for energy provides enormous greenhouse gas benefits by avoiding the emission of about 181 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This is equivalent to removing about 35 million cars from the road.
  • Carbon-neutral renewable biomass energy supplies approximately two-thirds of the energy used to make paper and paperboard, contributing to the products' cost-competitiveness.