Renewability, Recyclability, Recovery
Many of the things we extract from the earth are not replaceable. For instance, we can’t “grow” gold to replace what we’ve mined anymore than we can extract new oil once we’ve exhausted a well. Fortunately, the same is not true of the wood fiber from which paperboard packaging is made. Virtually all virgin paperboard consumed in the United States today comes from “tree farms” where trees are planted, harvested and replanted specifically for this end use.
Unfortunately, just because we participate in community recycling efforts does not mean that every newspaper and plastic bottle collected actually is recycled. In fact, most of it still winds up in landfills, to the tune of 53% of the total collected in 2011, or 2.9 pounds per person per day. Even so, it is exciting to note that every year, the amount of items that are recycled increases, and paper and paperboard leads that list, with almost 67%!
Just the Facts
- Trees are the most powerful concentrators of carbon on Earth; one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and emits four tons of oxygen. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
- Trees used in the manufacture of paperboard packaging are grown on farms, like vegetables. No rainforest trees are used and for every tree that is harvested, five trees are planted. (AF&PA)
- Young trees, like those used to make paperboard packaging, soak up more CO2 than older ones.
- The forest product industry plants 1.7 million trees every day. (AF&PA)
- Paper-based packaging accounts for 71.3% of the nearly 27 million tons packaging materials recovered for recycling. (U.S. EPA)
- In the U.S., 87% of the population has access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs. (AF&PA)
- U.S paper recovery has grown by 72% since 1990. (AF&PA).
- In 2009, 79% of paper and paperboard mills used some recovered paper and 119 mills used only recovered paper (AF&PA).
- Recycled paperboard is the largest market for recycled paper in the U.S. (Earth 911)
- In the U.S., 33% of materials used to make paper come from recycled paper. (Earth 911)
- More than half of the products on supermarket shelves are now packaged in recycled paperboard. (Pulp & Paper Factbook)
DARK GREEN AREAS ARE WHERE FOREST ACREAGE IS INCREASING