National Forest Products Week: Paper Industry Fun Facts
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was the first paper merchant in America? Or that paper bags were first measured by how many pounds of sugar they held? Here are some fun facts about the paper industry from the American Forest & Paper Association’s (AF&PA) website.
- Every day U.S. papermakers recycle enough paper to fill a 15 mile long train of boxcars.
- In 2011, 76 percent of paper and paperboard mills used some recovered paper and 113 mills used only recovered paper.
- Every ton of paper that is recovered saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
- Recovered paper accounts for more than 38 percent of fiber used to make new paper products in the U.S.
- In 2014, 96 percent of Americans had access to community curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.
- U.S. paper recovery for recycling reached a record 68.1 percent in 2018.
- U.S paper recovery has nearly doubled since 1990, when the paper industry established its first recovery goal to advance recycling.
- The first paper merchant in America was Benjamin Franklin, who helped to start 18 paper mills in Virginia and surrounding areas. For hundreds of years, cotton and linen rags were the papermaker’s raw materials.
- During the American Revolution, paper was so hard to find that soldiers ripped pages from books to use them as wadding for their rifles.
- Paper was invented by the Chinese around 105 A.D. and was kept a secret for many years.
- We use Kraft paper every day when we ask supermarkets to pack our groceries in brown paper bags.
- Paper bags were first measured by how many pounds of sugar they held.
- Paper grocery bags come in a variety of paper weights from light (30 lb.) to heavy-duty (70 lb.) and 14 stock sizes, capable of holding 2 to 25 pounds.
- AF&PA member companies use of recovered fiber results in avoided greenhouse gas emissions of more than 20 million metric tons of CO2.
- A single tree can absorb more than 10 pounds of CO2 each year.
- Today, the United States has 20 percent more trees than it did on the first Earth Day celebration in 1970.
- The U.S. forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufacturing nearly $300 billion in products annually.
- The U.S. forest products industry employs approximately 950,000 men and women.
- The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states.
- In the United States, private, working forests support 2.5 million jobs, $235 billion in annual sales, $87 billion in payroll, $4.4 billion in state income and severance taxes, and $102 billion to the GDP.
- One-third of the United States is forested – 751 million acres. Privately-owned forests supply 91 percent of the wood harvested in the U.S. State and tribal forests supply approximately 6 percent and federal forests supply only 2 percent of the wood used by the forest products industry.
- More than 56 percent of U.S. forests are privately owned, much of it by family forest owners who manage their lands to provide value to future generations.
- Insects and disease threaten 58 million acres of America’s forests.
- In the U.S., forests and forest products store enough carbon each year to offset approximately 12 percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions.
- Two-thirds of the nation’s drinking water comes from forests.
- Twenty percent of timberland in the U.S. is certified to reputable third-party verified systems. All AF&PA members who own forestland conform to a sustainable forest management programs, and those who source wood fiber from the forest comply with the sustainable procurement principles.
- For the past 100 years, total forest area has been stable and grew by 2 million acres from 2000 to 2005.
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