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 Washington-based 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 the increased rate to strong global demand for recovered fiber in the first three quarters of 2008.
“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.”
The organization also announced its 2009 Recycling Award recipients:
The Business Leadership Recycling Award — Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle
The Community Recycling Award — Orange County, N.C.
The School Recycling Award — Wake County, N.C., Public School System
The College/University Recycling Award — Stanford University
“In these tough economic times it is more important than ever to highlight the recycling programs that are making a difference,” Harman added. “AF&PA appreciates the on-going dedication of Americans who recycle every day, and we congratulate the award winners for their achievements.”
For more information on the award winners, visit www.paperrecycles.org.