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[GreenYes] The Cost of Recycled Paper....
Here are some additional thoughts on the cost of recycled paper issue, from
some of my friends in the industry.  (Please keep in mind that I no longer
work for the paper industry, so I can't be blamed for the answers):

Paper Company Rep:

The key cost elements that can make recycled paper more expensive than
virgin are those associated with cost of fiber at the mill and the cost of
fiber cleaning/fiber prep. The cost of fiber at the mill includes all the
points you made.  Transportation and fiber acquisition costs are the main
contributors.  Loss of usable fiber due to rejects, cleaning, etc. reduces
yields and thereby raises the price of fiber/ ton to the machine.  When all
is said and done, recycled fiber to the machine can be more expensive per
ton than virgin.  Many people start with the assumption that this cannot
be, but it can be so.  Couple this with increasing demands for a relatively
fixed supply, and prices can rise, as suggested in the recent study by
Franklin et al.

It doesn't hurt to remind folks that fossil fuel use also goes up as we
push harder on recycling.



Why do recycled office papers cost more than those that don't contain
recycled fiber?

It is generally more expensive to produce a recycled-content printing and
writing paper than one without recycled fiber.  Here's why:

o Purchasing deinked pulp (recycled pulp) is typically more costly than
nonrecycled pulp.  Mills are dependent on the recovered fiber supply and
market demand for these raw materials, the dynamics of which impact costs.
o Currently, market demand for recycled content printing and writing papers
still remains fairly low. [although this may change given Staples recent
o Mills that produce printing and writing papers were not originally
designed to use recycled fiber.  Integrating recycled fiber requires
technical changes that can increase capital expenditures and slow
production. [this would include quality issues as well as transportation]

Not all recycled-content printing and writing papers cost more, but all of
these factors are likely to impact the final cost.

Hope this helps!!


Christine McCoy
Director, Environmental Programs
Rural Community Assistance Program
1522 K Street, NW #400
Washington, DC  20005
Phone: 202/408-1273 ext. 104
Fax: 202/408-8165

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