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[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:

? The info is based on Conservatree's research.

? Less than 6% of the fibers used to make printing & office paper are from
recycled sources, and only about half of that is postconsumer.

? 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.

? 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.

? 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.

? 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.

? 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.

? 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.

? 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 Kinsella
Executive Director
Phone - 415/561-6526
E-mail Fax - 509/756-6987
susan@no.address, seek@no.address
skype - susanekinsella

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