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According to a recent survey from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, corrugated—with an estimated 90 percent recovery rate—has remained the most recycled packaging material for the past four years. The survey reports that corrugated recovery has been gradually rising from 54 percent in 1993, to 80 percent in 2009, to 89-91 percent in 2011-2014.
According to the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA), grocery retailers play a significant role in corrugated recycling. Waste and recovery haulers pay retailers to pick up old corrugated containers, which are then transferred to paper and corrugated manufacturers and recovered to produce new products, the CPA said.
In 2012, the EPA published a municipal waste characterization report showing that corrugated accounted for 74.6 percent of all packaging recovered, indicating that it was by far the most recycled packaging material. Glass came in second at 8.3 percent, followed by 4.9 percent plastic, 4.4 percent metal and 7.8 percent ‘all other’ packaging materials.