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The Corrugated Packaging Alliance, Elk Grove Village, Ill., recovery for recycling has increased steadily since 1993, when 54.5% of old corrugated containers (OCC) was recycled. Recovery is also helped by the widespread access to community paper and paper-based packaging recycling programs. According to an American Forest & Paper Association’s (AF&PA) community survey, 87% (268 million) of the U.S. population has access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs.
Most OCC is used to make new paper products. Of the 91% of corrugated recovered in 2012, more than half was used to make new container board (50.1%). An additional 12% was used to make recycled paperboard and more than 34% was exported.
Corrugated and the other paper-based packaging industries set the standard for recovery. According to the most recent data available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report “Municipal Solid Waste in the United States; 2010 Facts and Figures,” the corrugated and paper-based packaging industries set the standard for recovering products from the solid waste management stream.
The data drawn from the EPA report shows that corrugated and paper-based packaging have the highest recovery rates among several major packaging materials, at 85% and 71.3%, respectively. Aluminum (35.8%), glass (33.4%) and plastics (13.5%) have much lower recovery rates.
The corrugated industry continues to support the increased OCC recovery for recycling by:
- Modernizing equipment and technology, so that OCC can be used at the manufacturing facilities.
- Supporting business, community and school recycling programs.
- Developing a re-pulpability/recyclability standard protocol for corrugated boxes treated for moisture resistance.
The Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) is a corrugated industry initiative, jointly sponsored by the AF&PA, the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC), the Fibre Box Association (FBA) and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).