Trash is personal. The only way to know how much of your own output is paper is to do a trash audit. Sounds icky, but it’s actually interesting. Or go by this: The EPA says paper accounts for more than a third of all recyclables collected in the United States, by weight. Nearly forty-five million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2010—a recycling rate of over 63 percent. According to the American Forest and Paper Association the amount of paper recovered for recycling in 2010 averaged 334 pounds (151 kg) for each person living in the U.S.
So do your part to up that percentage and those pounds. No matter how much paper you have in your trash, recycling it will save trees and water, plus reduce air and water pollution. Recycling paper can even create jobs! It also reduces the amount of paper clogging our landfills. Paper can’t biodegrade without access to air, water, light, microbes, and enzymes, which aren't available in an overstuffed landfill.
If your community offers curbside recycling, make a habit of filling your bin with newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard, and any other paper items accepted.
If curbside isn’t available where you live, your community might still offer paper recycling at a dump or transfer station. For this you’ll need a larger container. When you’ve accumulated paper for a few weeks, bring it in.
If there is no paper recycling where you live, gather a few like-minded neighbors and start actively petitioning for it.