paper stack recycleThe American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) is the national trade association of the forest products industry. The association’s membership represents the wide range of that industry, from independent forest owners, to family-owned mills, to manufacturers of pulp, paper, paperboard and wood products. The AF&PA has an initiative called “Better Practices, Better Planet 2020: Continuing AF&PA’s Commitment to Sustainability.” Within “Better Practices, Better Planet 2020,” the association has set specific goals for increasing recovery of paper for recycling, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable forestry practices, while continuing to strive for the safest workplaces possible for its employees. These sustainability goals are the most extensive to date for a major U.S. manufacturing industry. Among the goals is improving the rate of paper recovery for recycling to 70%. This goal is very doable since, in 2009, 63.4% of U.S. paper consumed was already being recovered. By comparison, according to the EPA’s municipal solid waste data, only 25.5% of glass, 20.3% of aluminum and 7.1% of plastics consumed were recovered that same year. And, in 2011, a record-high 66.8% of the paper used in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, according to the AF&PA. Another statistic that helps facilitate increasing recovery rates is in 2010, 87% of the population had access to curbside and/or drop-off services. Having access to the proper tools makes recycling at home possible on a daily basis. To help educate students and their families about the importance of paper recovery for recycling, AF&PA carried out programs in conjunction with Scholastic Books, Kaleidoscope, Keep America Beautiful and Project Learning Tree organization to deliver information directly to the classroom. For example, classroom materials developed with Scholastic have reached more than 500,000 third- through sixth-grade educators nationwide, impacting more than 10 million students and their families. Grants provided to Keep America Beautiful partners provide educational materials to help schools and businesses start or improve their school recycling programs. Each year, the AF&PA Recycling Awards recognize outstanding business, community and school paper recycling programs across the country. These awards are featured at to inspire others. Look for another cool feature on the site: You can create a customized paper-recycling poster for your office. To learn more about the AF&PA, visit