In Depth

Utilizing Recovered Paper

“Recycling” and “recovery” are terms that are sometimes interchangeably but they mean different things in the context of the paper life cycle. Paper recycling is the process of recovering waste paper and remaking it into new paper products. There are three categories of paper that can be used as feedstocks for making recycled paper: mill broke, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste.

“Recovery” is the collection of paper for use in the manufacture of recycled paper or some other product. Paper must be recovered before it can be recycled.

For more on definitions see “Fiber Types Defined”.

Recovered Fiber Utilization Rates in Canada

Source: Pulp and Paper Product Council (PPC), Statistics Canada

Environmental Benefits of Recovering and Recycling Paper

Paper recycling is a great environmental success story. As a result of the commitment and efforts of the paper industry, municipalities and millions who recover paper for recycling on a daily basis, more than half of the paper consumed in the U.S. and Canada today is recovered for recycling with three major benefits;

  1. Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Paper recycling reuses fiber, which initially comes from the forest, a renewable resource that sequesters carbon and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the landfill. The use of recovered fiber also reduces the energy required to manufacture many paper products and, in turn, the emissions from many energy sources. 


  2. Conserve Natural Resources

    Recovering paper extends the fiber supply. In 2008, 57.4 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, and in Canada recovery was 64.3% of paper consumed. 


  3. Save Landfill Space

    According to the EPA, every ton of recycled paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.