Recycling & End of Life

Paper recovery is one of the best, yet little-known, environmental success stories in the world.



Vision 2020 Goal

Progress: 63% increase in recovery of OCC

Stated Goal: Increase recovery of old corrugated containers (OCC) by 15% by exploring new sources and diverting usable fiber from landfills

The market for recovered fiber is strong, and is expected to grow by 35 percent between 2008 and 2018. This market is driven not by government mandates, but by economics. Recovered fiber can serve as a low-cost alternative to new wood fiber in many products. Today well over half the fiber used for papermaking around the world is recovered fiber.

Because recovering paper makes economic sense, it happens at a high rate. Globally, about 55 percent of paper is recovered, and some countries have significantly higher recovery rates: Europe, 71 percent; Japan, 70 percent; and the United States, 64 percent. By contrast, the U.S. EPA reports that plastics are recovered in the United States at only a 9 percent rate and electronics at 25 percent.

“Wood fiber recovery in the U.S. is a significant environmental success story. Our Fiber Sourcing and Recycling teams continue to build upon that success by working with generators and suppliers to identify and capture new sources of recyclable materials.”

Recycling & Overall Trends

In 2010, we set our Vision 2020 goal to increase recovery of OCC by 15 percent. We contribute to increased fiber recovery rates by expanding our internal recovered fiber capacity, working with suppliers and acquiring new sources of materials for recovery. In doing so, we also divert additional types of paper and packaging materials from landfills.

Kwidzyn Wins European Recycling Council Praise

International Paper’s Kwidzyn plant in Poland won commendation in the annual Confederation of European Paper Industry recycling awards hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels for its entry, “Seventh Heaven for Newspapers”— a project launched at over 60 schools in the Polish region of Pomerania that aims to educate and promote paper recycling among children. These educational efforts will ensure less waste goes to landfills and more fiber goes to produce new, fully recyclable and sustainable paper products. The program’s name arises from the fact that newspapers can be recycled between four and seven times. So far, 130,000 kilograms of wastepaper has been collected by International Paper Kwidzyn from the institutions in the project.

Recovery & Reuse Strategy for North America

Our plan for meeting our 2020 recycling goal, developed in 2012, has three elements:

  • Build
  • Collaborate
  • Acquire

 Visit our North America Sustainability section to read more.