Paper Wastage Facts: Statistics About Paper Waste You Must Know

paper wastage facts

We may seem to have made progress ditching paper for the digital world, but if paper wastage facts are anything to go by, it is still very much a part of our lives.

Paper is still convenient, but that convenience comes with a lot of environmental effects. Paper accounts for about 26% of total waste at landfills, it causes deforestation, air pollution, and waste problems.

Paper Wastage Facts

Let’s look at some paper wastage facts:

1. You can save 17 trees if you recycle one ton of paper

Recycling paper facts show that recycling a ton of paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of landfill space, 60 pounds of air pollutants, and saves enough energy to power an average home for six months.

2. Only half the amount of paper produced is recycled

Only about 200 million metric tons of paper produced each year is recycled. This is about half the amount of the total amount of paper produced.

3. Deforestation us worse than transportation

Deforestation causes more climate change emissions than global transport.

4. 6 trees per family

According to paper consumption facts, the average family uses 6 trees worth of paper each year.

5. Paper wastage accounts for 16% of landfill solid waste

Paper waste statistics show that paper waste makes up 16% of landfill solid waste (26 million metric tons).

Related article:  Zero Waste Lifestyle

6. Paper production is the third most energy-intensive process

Making a ton of paper from wood requires 98 000 kilograms of other resources. This makes paper production the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries.

7. Paper is one of the biggest polluters

30% – 40% percent of municipal waste is paper while 50% of office waste landing in landfills is paper.

8. Americans and Europeans use the most paper

North Americans and Europeans use more than 200 kg of paper each per year.

9. 7% of office paper waste is recyclable

The average American office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. 77% of this office paper waste is recyclable.

Related article: Electronic Waste Statistics

10. Recycling a piece of paper only causes 5% of the pollution

Paper pollution facts reveal that only 5% of pollution is caused when recycling a piece of paper and saves about 50% of the amount of energy that is needed to create a new paper.

11. The junk mail industry destroys about 100 million trees annually

Every year, the junk mail industry destroys approximately 100 million trees. Every year, American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail, which requires 6.5 million metric tons of paper.

12. Too much paper wasted over the holidays

Paper waste facts show that an estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the U.S. These cards can fill a football field 10 stories high.

Related article: 10 Shocking Facts About Waste to Inspire You to Live More Sustainably

13. 500,000 trees are required to produce each week’s Sunday newspapers

To produce each week’s Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down. If we were to recycle all our newspaper about 250,000,000 trees could be saved each year!

14. A supermarket uses 6 million paper bags per year

Paper wastage statistics indicate that a single supermarket can use over 6 million paper bags each year.

15. High-grade paper is the most wasted type of paper

High-grade paper is of very good quality and would be quite useful if recycled. However, it is often thrown straight into the trash instead of the recycling box.

16. You can’t recycle receipts

Receipts are not recyclable or compostable because they are coated with BPA. don’t ask for a receipt if you don’t need one.

17. You cannot recycle parchment paper

Parchment paper cannot be recycled but it can be reused which is even better than recycling it.

18. Paper production requires LOTS of water

The pulp and paper industry is the largest industrial consumer of water. To produce a single A4-sheet of paper, you need 10 liters of water.

19. 4th largest greenhouse emitter

The paper and pulp industry is the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing sector. Paper also produces one of the most potent greenhouse gases, methane, as it decomposes in a landfill. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

20. 13,000 paper thrown away per household

The average household trashes 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.

More Paper Wastage Facts & Statistics

How much paper is recycled each year?

About 44.2 million tons of paper are recycled each year.

How much paper is wasted each year?

Paper wastage facts show that 85 million tons of paper waste are created each year. This is about 680 pounds of paper waste per person.

How many trees are cut down each year for paper?

Nearly 4 billion trees worldwide are cut down each year for paper.

How does paper affect the environment?

Paper causes deforestation, uses enormous amounts of energy and water to produce, causes air pollution and waste problems. Paper also accounts for around 26% of total waste at landfills.


It’s difficult to cut paper off completely in your life. However, you can reduce your paper waste by simply using only what you need the most and by reusing as much paper as possible. This will go a long way to make these paper wastage facts take a positive trend.