Who Recycles

The study shows that 86 percent of the U.S. population, or 254 million people, have access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs. AF&PA and its member companies are encouraged by the increase in grades of paper being recovered in existing recycling programs and see this as an important factor in helping to achieve the industry's aggressive goal to recover 55 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. by 2012.

AF&PA's 2005 Community Survey is a comprehensive national study that measures and tracks the growth of access to community-level paper and paperboard recycling in the U.S. The survey results complement the findings of several studies that AF&PA has conducted since 1994. Data gathered in the survey will guide AF&PA's work with its partners to increase the quantity and the quality of paper recovered for recycling.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 86 percent of the U.S. population (254 million people) have access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs;
  • 56 percent of the U.S. population (148 million people) have access to curbside recycling programs;
  • 64 percent of the U.S. population (165 million people) have access to drop-off recycling programs.

Increased recycling access for many mixed paper grades -- especially direct mail, telephone directories, and coated and uncoated paperboard -- suggesting that communities with existing curbside and drop-off programs are adding paper and paperboard categories to their programs.

The Material handling implications are wide ranging. The increased use of returnable containers, RFID tags on collection bins and trucks, as well as the equipment required within the recycling centers, to name a few.

To obtain an executive summary of 2005 AF&PA Community Survey results; for more detail on the recovery of specific paper grades; or to learn more about AF&PA's recycling outreach programs and resources, visit www.paperrecycles.org.

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