Will More Laws Help or Hurt?

Are recycled content mandates necessary?

The answer may surprise you. Many people believe that increasing recycled content in packaging reduces the environmental footprint. In truth, there are times when more recycled content may have a greater total environmental impact. And paper recovery rates are already higher than any content mandate.

Supply and Demand: Not enough to go around

Today more than 60 percent of paper and more than 80 percent of corrugated packaging in the U.S. is recovered for recycling. Despite this high recovery rate, demand for recovered fiber worldwide exceeds supply, especially outside of North America.

Transportation emissions affect the total life impact

An important consideration is the distance that recovered fiber must be shipped to be reused. Longer distances result in higher CO2 emissions.

Unintended Consequences

Content mandates will result in unintended consequences by shifting recovered fiber to less optimal applications which will have environmental impacts from longer freight hauls. Success has been driven by recovery efforts and the focus on recovery will drive continued success without content mandates.

Learn more about the potential negative impact of new legislation -->

How much of the power used to make paper comes from carbon-neutral, renewable sources?

  1. 1/10
  2. 1/3
  3. 1/2
  4. 2/3


*Answer (D.) 2/3
That's not even the entire story. Did you know that the papermaking industry only contributes 1.4% of the total U.S. stationary industrial emissions, compared to 5.7% produced by refineries and 72.5% produced by power plants.

Source: Renewable Bag Council