I can see for myself that people in offices and at home are printing fewer pages of computer documents, and it’s easy to see that the print magazine and newspaper industries are in decline. But computer printers account for only a small fraction of paper use, and newspapers and magazines aren’t the dominant categories that they once were. So is paper declining in total?
According to paper industry statistics, total North American paper consumption is down 25 percent from a 2004 peak. It is a similar story in Europe and South America, though the peak years were more recent there. Only China is showing a strong increase in paper consumption in recent years.
Besides using less paper, the paper industry is recycling more. This is especially true in North America, where almost 2/3 of paper is collected for recycling.