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Some alarming statistics:

Today, over half of the material used to make paper is recovered waste. Paper products are the largest component of municipal solid waste, making up more than 40% of the composition of landfills. In 1993, more paper was recycled than was buried in landfills, a first for the recycling industry.  In 2006, a record 53.4% of the paper consumed in the U.S. (or 53.5 million tons) was recovered for recycling. This is up from a 1990 recovery rate of 33.5%. The U.S. paper industry has set a goal to recover 55 percent of all the paper consumed in the U.S. by 2012. Paper packaging recovery, specific to paper products used by the packaging industry, was responsible for about 76.6% of packaging materials recycled with more than 24 million pounds recovered in 2005.


Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program, existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 1998, 9,000 curbside programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off centers had sprouted up across the nation. As of 1999, 480 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.


Some alarming statistics correlating deforestation and paper usage:


  • Half of all timber harvesting is used for paper
  • Paper constitutes 2% of world trade and 2.5% of world industrial production.
  • The annual forest harvest is more than twice the weight of all U.S. purchases of metals.
  • Modern paper factories use energy at the same rate as a small city.
  • A paper mill can devour 75 acres of clear-cut per day.
  • Newsprint uses 1/6th of all US paper production, with the Sunday Edition of the New York Times consuming 75,000 trees per edition.
  • The magazine industry uses 17 million trees per year, and 95% of publishers still use virgin paper.
  • Only one-tenth of global paper usage goes into long term storage such as files, records and books.
  • The average American office worker uses a sheet of paper every 12 minutes and a ream per person every 2-1/2 weeks. 

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