The U.S. paper recycling rate increased to 57.4 percent in 2008, up from 56 percent the year before, according to statistics recently released by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). However, the organization is cautioning that “the economic downturn caused a sharp decline in paper demand beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008,” according to a press release.
AF&PA attributes 2008’s increased rate to strong global demand for recovered fiber in the first three quarters of the year.
“Recycling is one of America’s great environmental success stories and the paper industry is proud to have played a central role in the significant growth in paper recovery in recent years,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman in a press release. “It’s important that in the wake of the global recession, the resulting decline in paper demand, and the decline in value of recovered paper, that we protect both our infrastructure and personal commitment to recycling so that we are prepared to again meet growing demand as the market rebounds.”