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Corrugated Recovered for Recycling Hits All-Time High of 93 Percent in 2015

Corrugated Recovered for Recycling Hits All-Time High of 93 Percent in 2015

The U.S. recovery rate of old corrugated containers rose from an increase in domestic consumption of recovered fiber and jump in OCC exports. Sponsored by Corrugated Packaging Alliance

ITASCA, IL (June 23, 2016) – The U.S. recovery rate of old corrugated containers (OCC) rose by 3.7 percentage points in 2015 to a record-high 92.9 percent. The increase was driven by a 3.5 percent increase in domestic consumption of recovered fiber and a 10.6 percent jump in OCC exports.

As reported by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), OCC recovery has been climbing steadily since the 1990s. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, notes OCC recovery to be higher than any other in the municipal waste stream.                        

How Is Recovered/Recycled Corrugated Used?

More than 51 percent of OCC recovered in 2015 was used to make new containerboard for more corrugated boxes, which, on average, include approximately 50 percent recycled content. An additional 11.5 percent was used to make boxboard (for primary packaging like cereal boxes), and more than 32 percent was exported. Global demand for OCC has grown steadily as well, helping ensure a viable market for U.S. recovered fiber.

The recovery rate of corrugated has been augmented by the industry’s unflagging commitment to educating retailers, packagers and consumers on the simplicity and benefits of recycling corrugated materials. In 1994, the “Corrugated Recycles” symbol was introduced in the U.S.; the International Corrugated Case Association adopted it three years later. Today, the symbol is present on a majority of corrugated packaging.


About the Corrugated Packaging Alliance

The Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) is a corrugated industry initiative, jointly sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), AICC – the Independent Packaging Association, the Fibre Box Association (FBA) and TAPPI.  Its mission is to foster growth and profitability of corrugated in applications where it can be demonstrated, based on credible and persuasive evidence, that corrugated should be the packaging material of choice; and to provide a coordinated industry focus that effectively acts on industry matters that cannot be accomplished by individual members.  CPA members include corrugated manufacturers and converters throughout North America.

Visit CPA on the web at and follow us on Twitter: @corrugatedpkg.

About AF&PA

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures over $200 billion in products annually, and employs approximately 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

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