AF&PA Releases 61st Paper Industry Capacity and Fiber Consumption Report

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Containerboard Capacity and U.S. Mill Consumption of Corrugated Reach Record Highs

WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today released the 61st Paper Industry Capacity and Fiber Consumption Report, indicating overall U.S. paper and paperboard capacity declined 1.6 percent in 2020, compared to the average decline of 1.1 percent per year since 2011.

Notably in 2020, containerboard capacity expanded, continuing a decade-long trend, and reaching a record high of 40.4 million tons. Tissue paper capacity has also been trending upward, increasing for the past five years, as well as eight of the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, U.S. mill consumption of recovered fiber reached the second-highest level in the past decade. The increase was driven by mill consumption of corrugated, the largest grade of recovered fiber, which reached a record high of 22.8 million tons in 2020.

 Boxboard was the only packaging grade to decline last year, however survey responses indicate a slight rebound in 2021. 

Experiencing continued secular decline from displacement by electronic communication, capacity for newsprint and printing-writing papers decreased in 2020, with capacity for both grades declining in the past decade. Some machines that historically produced printing-writing papers have been and are being repurposed to produce containerboard and packaging paper.

Survey responses indicate total paper and paperboard capacity will remain essentially flat, decreasing less than one-half of one percent in 2021.

 The survey reports U.S. industry capacity data for 2020 and 2021 for all major grades of paper, paperboard and pulp, as well as fiber consumption, based on a comprehensive survey of all U.S. pulp and paper mills. Survey data includes responses from companies representing more than 86 percent of U.S. paper and paperboard industry capacity, with estimates completing the data set

The complete survey with detailed tables is available for $2,340. Please contact Kory Bockman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-463-4716 for this report or other industry reports.


The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $55 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.


Source: AF&PA