In Depth

Paper Recovery and Exports

The U.S. and Canada are recovering more paper every year. However, an increasing percentage of this fiber is exported, especially to China.

Increasing exports are constraining the fiber supply for U.S. and Canadian recyclers. 34% of total fiber recovered in North America enters the global fiber cycle in the form of exports.1

  • A rapidly increasing volume of paper recovered in North America ends up in Asia, which places a high value on imports of recovered paper
  • The US is the largest exporter of recovered paper (roughly eight million tons) to China
  • Some of this fiber eventually returns to Canada and the U.S. in the form of packaging and other paper goods from Asia

U.S. and Canada Fiber Recovery and Exports, 2007

1. Source: American Forest and Paper Association ( and the United States Department of Agriculture (