UPDATE: REcovered Paper Expoldes In '96

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America's paper and paperboard mills increased their recovered paper use by 9 percent in 1996, creating a domestic demand that wrenched the U.S. paper recovery rate up an estimated record 44.8 percent last year, despite a dramatic fall-off in recovered paper exports, says the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Washington, D.C.

U.S. mills increased their recovered paper use in 1996 to 34.3 million tons, up from 31.4 million tons the preceding year, according to AF&PA. This figure accounts for 37.3 percent of the raw material used by U.S. paper mills - up from 34.4 percent in 1995.

"That 2.9 million ton increase in recovered paper consumption by domestic mills is the largest one-year jump in history," says AF&PA president and CEO W. Henson Moore. "An increase of this magnitude is particularly impressive given that domestic paper and paperboard production was up only 1 percent from 1995 levels."

As dramatic as the increase was in 1996 domestic consumption, the relative reduction in offshore demand for U.S. recovered paper was even more pronounced. Exports of recovered paper fell by approximately 3.2 million tons from 1995 levels, a drop of more than 31 percent. The recovered paper export market typically accounts for 20 percent of the paper recovered in the United States each year.

The 42.3 million tons of paper recovered last year resulted in the record-high 1996 recovery rate, which is one-half percentage point higher than the revised 1995 recovery rate. Records also were set last year in recovery of both corrugated and newsprint. Corrugated recovery hit 21.6 million tons for a recovery rate of 73.5 percent; nearly 7.4 million tons of newsprint were recovered, a 62.7 percent recovery rate.

The U.S. paper industry set a voluntary goal in 1993 to recover - for recycling and reuse - one half of all paper used by Americans by the year 2000. Already, the recovery rate exceeds that of any other country with a similar pattern of population concentration and distribution.

The "recovery rate" is the combined volume of paper recycled domestically and exported, divided by the total amount of paper used during the year. The amount of paper recovered annually in the United States equals the amount that is recycled domestically and exported.

For more information, contact: AF&PA, 1111 19th St., N.W., Ste. 800, Washington, D.C. 20036. (202) 463-2700.