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[GreenYes] Re: Recycled paper in trouble?

If I can play the devil's advocate, why is it important that recycled fiber go to printing and writing paper?

Isn't the goal to replace virgin fiber in paper production, vs P&W paper ? If the fibers are not suitable for use in printing and writing paper (or if it costs too much to prepare the fiber for this use), aren't we still ahead by recovering fiber?

It seems to me that any recycled fiber that goes to P&W paper means that -- unless total recovery is increased -- that more virgin will be used for other grades of paper. It looks to me to be a no net gain situation, and perhaps even a loss if it results in more cost, chemicals, environmental impact, etc. to shift to P&W paper versus its current uses.

It seems to me that recycled paper is not in trouble, only that the levels in P&W paper are not as high as might we wished. It seems to me that part of this is the cost, which in turn is in part affected by the subsidies for virgin materials.

I look forward to hearing more about this situation.

John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, Wisconsin

PS ~ I should note that Wisconsin paper mills are typically the largest users of recycled fiber than those of any other state.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address]On
> Behalf Of Susan Kinsella
> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 3:11 AM
> To: GreenYes List Serv
> Subject: [GreenYes] Re: Recycled paper in trouble?
> I was traveling last week when a message was posted asking about the
> validity of info from the Union of Concerned Scientists about
> the market
> conditions for recycled paper. Apologies, therefore, for the
> late response.
> Here's some info on it re: U.S. and Canadian paper markets:
> EUR The info is based on Conservatree's research.
> EUR Less than 6% of the fibers used to make printing & office
> paper are from
> recycled sources, and only about half of that is postconsumer.
> EUR More than 90% of office paper has NO recycled content
> whatsoever. Note
> that this # is slightly different from the 6% fiber # above.
> This one is
> measuring the percentage of papers in the market that have at
> least SOME
> recycled content, while the one above is specifically
> measuring the fiber
> across all paper production in this market sector. There is
> no definitive
> number for recycled content printing & office paper's market
> share, but the
> highest percentage is in copy/bond paper, where possibly up
> to 9-10% of the
> market has some recycled content. The rest of the printing &
> writing paper
> grades have far less.
> EUR Printing & writing grades are especially important for requiring
> recycled content because they make up 27% of U.S. paper
> industry production
> and most of the papers in this category are made in the kind
> of papermaking
> process that uses the most resources, water and energy, and
> produces the
> most pollution. So recycled content here can make a huge
> impact on reducing
> all those elements, plus global warming gases.
> EUR People tend to believe that "all paper has recycled
> content" because
> they see their curbside and office papers being picked up and
> assume that
> they go back into the same kinds of papers. Instead, most of
> the recovered
> papers are downcycled.
> EUR John Reindl refers to an AF&PA statistic that references how much
> discarded paper was recovered for recycling. That's totally
> separate from
> how much actually ends up in printing & office papers.
> EUR More than half of the paper in offices is still not being
> collected. It
> should be - and it should be sorted, not mixed, so that it
> can be used for
> printing & writing/office papers, tissue, and paperboard
> printing surfaces.
> When it remains mixed, it cannot be used for those paper grades.
> EUR The good news is that campaigns to drive up recycled
> paper purchases by
> major purchasers such as the office products retail stores
> have improved
> markets for recycled pulp. However, now we need to encourage
> the development
> of more deinking pulp mills so that there will be enough
> recycled pulp to
> keep up with further increases in demand. To support that, we
> need more
> office papers collected and kept separate so that they can be
> used at new
> deinking mills.
> EUR NO new recycling mills for printing & writing grades of
> paper have been
> built in China, other parts of SE Asia, or South America, yet
> more of our
> books and calendars are being printed there and more of our office and
> school paper products are being made there. A small amount of
> new high grade
> deinking is projected in China for late this year or early
> 2008, mostly for
> use in magazine/catalog types of papers.
> So . . . We still need to make people aware of the importance of
> specifically choosing and specifying recycled papers. We need
> to ensure
> clean, sorted streams of recovered paper. And we need to
> encourage more high
> grade deinking.
> See Conservatree's new website pages that make finding and choosing
> environmental papers easier for the public and those buying in small
> quantities -
> We also have a new YouTube video spot at
> Susan
> --
> Susan Kinsella
> Executive Director
> Conservatree
> Phone - 415/561-6526
> E-mail Fax - 509/756-6987
> susan@no.address, seek@no.address
> skype - susanekinsella

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