High recycling rates are a priority for Domtar—and for our industry partners. We’ve worked together to boost the rate that paper and packaging are recycled throughout the U.S.
And it’s working. The pulp and paper industry continues to achieve a high recycling rate for its products, according to newly released data from the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA). In 2022, 93.6% of all cardboard boxes and corrugated containers were recycled, an increase from the previous year’s 91.4%. And the paper recycling rate in 2022 was 67.9%, holding nearly steady compared to 68.1% in 2021.
We’re doing our part by using recycled cardboard containers at our newly re-started Kingsport Mill, Domtar’s first 100%-recycled manufacturing facility. It produces containerboard to make cardboard boxes.
We also recently partnered with Food City, a regional grocer. Domtar now accepts all of the retailer’s old cardboard containers to fuel production.
“Cardboard and paper waste from area Food City stores will go to Domtar rather than local landfills. They’ll eventually become part of packaging used by customers across the world,” says Charlie Floyd, vice president of strategic capital projects for Domtar’s packaging business.
Increasing Recycling Rates Since 1990
Paper recycling rates have met or exceeded 63% since 2009. Our industry has contributed to these improvements by producing more sustainable paper products, making community recycling more accessible, and educating people about recycling.
More paper by weight is recycled from municipal waste streams than plastic, glass, steel, and aluminum combined, the EPA reports.
The paper industry recycles nearly 70% more paper today than it did in 1990.
We’re concerned about state efforts to burden our industry with costs related to hard-to-recycle products through extended producer responsibility programs.
“If you’re putting a material in there that’s responsible for the contamination (of the recycling system), you should probably be the one making financial contributions toward system improvements or cleaning that up,” Terry Webber, AF&PA’s vice president of industry affairs, recently told Politico’s Long Game newsletter. “We don’t want to be in a position where we’re subsidizing infrastructure and investment that really benefits other materials or addresses problems that we’re not the cause of.”
Domtar stands with AF&PA in supporting market-based solutions to strengthen existing voluntary paper and paper packaging recycling programs.
“We support better access to recycling and stronger infrastructure,” says Steve Henry, Domtar’s president of paper and packaging, “to ensure our successful paper recycling story continues.”
Read more about how our industry is working to increase recycling rates.