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Consumption of paper and paperboard in selected countries worldwide 2018

In 2018, China's consumption of paper and paperboard amounted to more than 110 million metric tons. That was more than a quarter of the total global consumption that year, which amounted to 421.88 million metric tons.

Global paper and paperboard consumption

China and the United States are some of the top consumers of paper and cardboard products in the world. In 2018, China consumed over 110 million metric tons of paper and cardboard while the U.S. consumed some 70.6 million metric tons of these products. However, the United States consumes much larger volumes of paper and cardboard per person, at 468 pounds per capita, while China used about 75 kilograms of paper and cardboard per capita (approximately 165 pounds). In the United States, paper use has decreased. China is currently the largest producer of paper and related products in the world, generating nearly 109.9 million metric tons in 2018.

Pulp and paper industry shifts due to environmental and financial concerns

The pulp and paper industry is generally dominated by Western countries and some East Asian countries. There has been a tremendous controversy over the paper industry’s global environmental impact, revolving around the use of clear cut logging and the deforestation of old-growth forests. Due to environmental backlash, companies have begun to relocate to regions with lower wages and lower environmental regulations. Deforestation, however, is not always caused as a result of the logging industry for timber or paper production. Other reasons for clearing forested land such as cattle ranching and farming, for example, are also hugely problematic, at least in some parts of the world such as in the Brazilian Amazon.

Consumption of paper and paperboard in selected countries worldwide in 2018

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Release date

August 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The source points out that consumption = production+ imports - exports.
VDP stands for "Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken" (Association of German Paper Factories).

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Statistics on "Paper industry"

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