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Tue, Mar 21, 2023 11:30
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Shadow of doubt

The paper industry has maintained generally high recycling rates for years. But, last year, a pair of recycling and paper industry veterans released research that publicly called into question the accuracy of the old corrugated containers (OCC) recycling rate.

According to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), based in Washington, cardboard, or OCC, is the most recycled packaging material in the U.S.--not surprising, considering how prolific the packaging has become, particularly with the rise of e-commerce.

The AF&PA has published annual U.S. paper and board recovery rates since 1993, and its most recent report in May 2022 shows the U.S. paper recycling rate to be 68 percent--the highest rate recorded--and the OCC recycling rate to be 91.4 percent.

However, in August 2022, Ryan Fox, corrugated market analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, and Myles Cohen, recycling industry expert and founder of Georgia-based Circular Ventures LLC, presented findings from their own alternative method of calculating the OCC recycling rate that estimates the number to be closer to 69 percent.

The AF&PA continues to support its calculations, and Fox and Cohen have stood by what they say they believe is a more comprehensive analysis. The recycling industry, meanwhile, is confronted with the notion that the OCC recycling rate might have more room for improvement than previously thought.

To read the entire article from Recycling Today, click here.

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