According to an American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) survey released this week, the U.S. hit a record 57.4-percent paper recovery rate in 2008, up from 56 percent from 2007 totals.
The celebration at the record high was tempered, however, by sober words from the AF&PA cautioning that the economic downturn — and the drop in recovered paper prices globally — will affect recovery rates moving forward.
“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,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.
The association this week also released the 49th Annual Survey of Paper, Paperboard and Pulp Capacity, which found that paper and paperboard capacity in the U.S. slipped slightly by 0.8 percent in 2008 to 96.3 million tons, below the 1.0 percent annual rate of contraction from 2001 through 2007, but higher than 0.6 percent tightening reported last year. Altogether, paper and paperboard capacity has shrunk 7.3 percent since its 2000 peak level.
According to the survey, total paper and paperboard capacity is expected to further dip by 1.8 percent in 2009 before expanding by 0.3 percent in 2010 and 2011.
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