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[GreenYes] How Much Recycled Paper Could Be Available?
We often hear concerns from paper purchasers that there might not be enough
recycled paper, or increased demand might drive up prices, if they and many
other major purchasers switch to recycled paper at the same time. (I tell
them, "We should be so lucky!")

However, to address this concern, Conservatree and the Alliance for
Environmental Innovation (AEI) have been collaborating on a deinking mill
capacity study since the beginning of the summer. AEI has just published the
preliminary results in their report, A New Norm in Catalogs, available at

The capacity study is part of AEI's report on Norm Thompson catalogs'
conversion to recycled paper. This preliminary information is focused on
coated publication papers, but it provides insight into potentials for
quickly increasing recycled paper in other grades, such as copier and offset
papers, as well. There is information both in the body of the report and in
the Appendix. 

In short, we have found more than 360,000 tons per year of unused potential
deinked pulping capacity, almost all of it postconsumer, which could be used
to make recycled paper with varying amounts of content. And this does not
count the mills that are idled, nor others in the industry that could divert
pulp to recycled paper. Quite a few mills also told us that they sell
recycled paper at the same price as virgin paper. Over and over again, the
mill operators told us the problem is NOT lack of capacity, it's lack of
demand for recycled papers.

Conservatree is continuing this capacity study, contacting more mills, and
will publish comprehensive results in the next couple of months. In that
report, we intend to specifically address questions regarding potentials for
copier paper and other grades of paper, as well.

Susan Kinsella
Susan Kinsella
Executive Director
100 Second Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

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