Corrugated is Sustainable
Corrugated packaging is an extraordinary recycling success story. Corrugated “cardboard” is recycled more than any other packaging material in the U.S. Plus, the average corrugated box is made with 52 percent recycled content. The industry’s unwavering commitment to increasing recovery has driven these results. It took a prolonged and focused effort the corrugated industry committed to over fifty years ago and has lived by ever since – that should be viewed as an example to improve recycling rates for other packaging materials. Corrugated is one of few materials that can be recovered for recycling through an established, healthy market and never needs to go to waste. The fiber in old corrugated containers (OCC) is valuable and is in high demand both domestically and overseas.
Most OCC is used to make new paper products. More than 50 percent of OCC recovered in 2019 was used to make new containerboard for more corrugated boxes. An additional 10.4 percent was used to make boxboard (for primary packaging like cereal boxes), and more than 34 percent was exported. Global demand for OCC generated in the US has grown steadily as well, helping ensure a viable market for US recovered fiber.
Find out more about corrugated recycling here.