Paper Facts & Trivia

The fun thing about paper is it has been around long enough to have some fun facts and trivia. Here are a few tidbits about paper.


How much paper is produced?


  • The United States and Canada are the world's largest producers of paper and paper products . The next largest are Finland, Japan, and Sweden, who produce significant amounts of wood pulp and newsprint.


  • The U.S. consumption of paper and paperboard in 1999 was approximately 354 kilograms (about 800 pounds) per person.


  • In 1997 the total world paper and paperboard production was 299,044 metric tons. It would take about 200,000 Volkswagen Beetle cars to equal this weight.


  • In the last 20 years, the combined usage of today's top ten paper users has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, which is a growth of 126%. So the use of computers is not slowing the amount paper we use.


How about recycling paper.


  • Recycling one ton of paper saves about 17 trees 


  • 100,000 tons of recycled materials are collected each year in the city of Phoenix (from 315,000 houses). 75% of this (ie: 75,000 tons) is paper and paper products including card, junk mail, magazines, cartons and newspapers. How many trees does the city of Phoenix save each year?


We know the city of Phoenix recycles about 75,000 tons of paper and for every ton a tree is saved. The math problem looks like this: 


75,000 X 17 or...



Not all paper is used for printing and writing.


  • In 875 CE Chinese invent toilet paper.


  • Sales for toilet paper world wide reached more than 3.5 billion dollars in 1995.


  • A little more than half of all U.S. paper production takes the form of converted paper products and paperboard containers and boxes (51.1 million tons in 1999).


What is the most common material used to make paper?


  • Today, more than 95 percent of paper is made from wood cellulose.


  • Until the end of the 19th century, the process of papermaking involved extraordinary searches for rags to make paper. This fact must have been on the mind of this anonymous 18th-century English poet who penned the following verse: 


RAGS make paper 
PAPER makes money 
MONEY makes banks 
BANKS make loans 
LOANS make beggars 



American Paper & Forest Association

Québec Forest Industries Association


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