Top 10 Largest Paper Producing Countries in the World


Approximately 400 million metric tons of paper is produced and consumed globally each year. The demands of current use are just over 2 pieces of paper per hour per person for each person on the planet. As many have noted the office “paperless” uses so much, if not more paper than before the advent of computers, but paper is more than just office supplies. Paper bags, packaging, wrapping, paper towels, labels, newspapers, coloring books, candy wrappers, and magazines, the modern world is full of paper. Even money is made of paper. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) compiles an annual report on international pulp and paper capacities. Inclusive data sets are self-reporting surveys of pulp and paper production capacities in 30 participating countries, accounting for 85% of the world’s paper production capacity. Category divisions for products across the spectrum are included. China and Hungary were the only two countries to report producing pulp of straw, 0.190 and 3.028 million metric tons, respectively. While 5 countries contributed 1,287 million metric tons of bagasse pulp produced in 2015. Bagasse is the name for the crushed sugar cane used to make the pulp. The FAO report includes statistics on paper types, such as overall production figures for floating paper, the material used to make the ridges inside the corrugated paperboard. There are 3 categories of floating paper, in fact, and the packaging materials comprise around 55% of the industry. Statistics available for paper and paperboard production show the top 10 countries of paper producers in the world.

10. ITALY

With the production of pulp paper total of 8.840 million metric tons, Italy stands out. The Italian paper industry is booming and Italian papermaking technology is recognized as cutting edge. The region of Lucca has been producing paper since the 13th century and is the only officially recognized “paper district” in Europe.

9. SWEDEN

With 70 percent of its forest land and 80 percent of its forests in active use, Sweden’s paper and timber industries use 1 percent of its forest resources annually. The country produced a total of 10,165 million metric tons of paper in 2015. Swedish industry invests SEK 2.3 billion in research, and another SEK 2 billion in government funding is invested in forestry science in colleges, institutes and universities.

8. CANADA

The paper industry in Canada dates from the early 1800s and centers around Ontario and Quebec. The decrease in production numbers reduces Canada to eighth position with 10,266 million metric tons of paper by 2015.

7. FINLAND

Finland’s forestry group industry has established flexible operating models to encourage workers in vocational schools and research universities to work together to increase professional competence, improve job satisfaction, and benefit global environmental efforts. The paper production aspect of Finnish forestry produced 10,310 million metric tons of paper and paperboard.

6. BRAZIL

With a reputation for reforestation, the Brazilian paper industry accounts for 10,357 million metric tons of paper. Pulp and paper mills in Brazil have world records. A plant in Mato Grosso do Sul is known for being the largest single-line mill in the world. And it uses eucalyptus plantation for raw material, and produces kraft paper. In Três Lagoas, another factory in Brazil, it continues to break its own world records for daily production of pulp.

5. REPUBLIC OF SOUTH KOREA

South Korean papermaking did not decline as much as analysts feared. Production figures for 2015 indicate 11,569 million metric tons of paper, only a slight drop from the 11,653 million metric tons produced by the Republic of Korea in 2014.

4. GERMANY

Although not the world’s largest paper producer with 22,608 million metric tons per year, Germany ranks as the world’s leading paper exporter. Growing packaging demands, a major component of Germany’s paper exports, keep the country’s papermaking sector strong.

3. JAPAN

The Japanese regard their traditional papermakers as national treasures, and it is easy to see why when observing beautiful art pieces such as Chiyogami, Unryu, or Ito-iri. The papermaking industry in Japan has suffered some decline as the technology has reduced its domestic demand for paper products. However, with paper production at 26.228 million metric tons in 2015, Japan surpasses 7 other countries and ranks third.

2. U.S.

Started in 1730, the paper industry in the United States is older than the country itself. Previously, the world’s largest paper producer as well as major consumer, the country’s role is in second place in this selection with 72.397 million metric tons of paper produced. Recovered fiber, which is recycled or recovered, represents 66.8% of the paper consumed in the United States. By 2015, the country recovered 52 million tonnes, or 142.8 kg of paper per person in the United States.

1. CHINA

In 2004, China ranked second with 49.5 million metric tons, just 11 years later, the growing Chinese paper industry has more than doubled to produce 107.1 billion metric tons of paper by 2015. This includes 8,850 million metric tons of household and toilet paper. China’s paper export sales have also increased, with a gain of 46.1% from 2011 to 2015. The forecasts for continued growth position the country to surpass Germany as the number one exporter of paper in the coming years.