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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Office Greening for Operations Cost Reduction, Productivity & Health

Office Paper Reduction and Recycling

Paper recycling and reduction saves money, landfills and natural resources

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Recycliing Office Paper

In 2003, recyclable office paper represented over nine percent of the paper disposed in California, amounting to approximately 785,147 tons, with over 58 percent from commercial sources! Paper is the second largest component of California's commercial waste stream, accounting for about 26.5 percent of all commercial materials disposed. Furthermore, the commercial sector accounts for approximately 47 percent of all materials disposed in the state. SOURCE: CIWMB

Demand for Recycled Content in Office Products

Currently, the demand for post-consumer (PC) content office products, such as copy paper, is higher than the supply of recycled materials needed to manufacture them, which is why virgin products are still cheaper than PC products. Office buildings are enormous consumers of the high-quality paper that retains value when recycled. Increasing the supply of recycled office paper to the paper mills will allow prices of PC products to fall and consumers to take advantage of them. Recycling waste paper not only saves natural resources, but also diverts tons of waste from landfills.

Paper Reuse, Disposal and Recycling

Paper disposal is not only inefficient use of resources, it is the result of time and money spent on activities that are seldom essential to a business's productivity -- people still have to handle that paper--and that costs money.

Reuse paper.

Place near printers, photocopy machines, or places where paper is stored.

Recycle paper.

Your coworkers can't recycle unless they know what goes where! Display signs near your recycling bins.

Reduce paper use.

Computers make the best filing cabinets.

Promote reuse.

Keep a place for staff to return unused materials.

If you don't buy recycled products, you are not recycling. Customers prefer to do business with businesses that recycle.

Market Development Resources http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Markets/

Paper Recovery (Collection/Processing)

National Office Paper Recycling Project http://www.usmayors.org/USCM/recycle/about/onepager.htm Who has teamed up with the Conference by transporting the waste paper to mills for recycling ??????? This Web site provides information about the National Office Paper Recycling Project (NOPRP) and its major efforts. The NOPRP is a nonprofit partnership of public- and private-sector organizations. Its goal is to maximize office paper recycling and to minimize waste. The project's primary emphasis is the Recycling At Work Campaign designed to not only increase office paper recycling rates, but to encompass all forms of office recycling. American Forest & Paper Association and the Recovered Fiber Executive Committee Currently, the paper industry faces two challenges in its efforts to ensure a reliable, high-quality supply of recovered fiber:
  • increasing exports to foreign markets, particularly China,
  • declining quality.

Quality of Recovered Paper for Recycling

According to a study recently commissioned by AF&PA, the quality of fiber recovered from curbside programs is declining. The growth of single stream contributes to this decline and increases costs for the end-user. The biggest culprit to emerge out of many curbside programs: increased amounts of glass in recovered fiber. Glass is increasingly a problem for many paper manufacturers. In 2001 alone, companies spent millions of dollars repairing equipment that was damaged by the presence of glass in recovered fiber streams. In an effort to meet its goal, the paper industry is partnering with the following organizations: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CarrAmerica, Keep America Beautiful, the Peralta, California, Parent-Teacher Association, and the Community Recycling Advisory Board. Our partnership with CarrAmerica—a multi-market office building ownership and management company—is meant to help us increase recovery of office papers. Currently, only 40% of office paper is recycled. The paper industry recognizes that office buildings represent the greatest growth potential for fiber supply out there. Our partnerships with Keep America Beautiful and the PTA are meant to help us increase recovery of paper from schools around the country, while at the same time educating America’s youth about the benefits of recycling in their schools, homes, and communities. Finally, we have developed a partnership with cities around the country called the Community Recycling Advisory Board. This board assists AF&PA in developing outreach and education materials for municipal recycling programs. Paper Industry Association Council to endorse the 55% recovery goal. The Direct Marketing Association and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries have issued statements supporting the goal. Recycling paper is good for the environment. More paper diverted from the waste stream is less paper going into landfills and incinerators. Increased paper recovery will lead to corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by further avoiding methane emissions from landfills. Conservative estimates show that recovering paper that would otherwise be destined for landfills will result in increased methane avoidance of approximately 3 million metric tons of CO2 per year based on maintaining the current recovery rate of 48%. Janet Kincaid Mgr., Fiber Recovery & Utilization Tel: 202-463-2477 Email: Janet_Kincaid@afandpa.org Robin Baker Director, Communications Tel: 202-463-5185 Email: Robin_Baker@afandpa.org Andy Rivinus of the Weyerhaeuser Company spoke on behalf of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) about the markets for recycled paper products. With regard to current recycling and recovery rates in the U.S., Rivinus cited several notable statistics, considering that over the last 25 years, recycling has been a core component in American life. In 2003, for the first time, 50% of the paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling. Last year, according to Rivinus, paper recovery exceeded landfilling by more than 12 million tons. Every ton of paper recovered for recycling saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, which also cuts expenses for municipalities that operate landfills. Additionally recycling paper conserves forests and the ecological services they provide. Rivinus spoke also of increasing international demand for U.S. recovered paper exports. He noted that soaring export demand has had a significant impact on the paper industry. The share of U.S. recovered paper supply going to exports has risen from 16% in 1997 to approximately 28% in 2004. U.S. exports of recovered paper are projected to increase significantly during the next five years; an increase that could squeeze domestic supply unless recovery increases. In order to keep up with domestic and overseas demand, an increase in the amount of paper being recovered for recycling has become a necessity. In order to satisfy the international demand for recovered paper products, Rivinus described the AF&PA’s goal of recovering 55% of the paper consumed in the U.S. annually by 2012, up from 50% today. To reach that goal, programs exist within AF&PA and its members to reduce the amount of landfilled paper; additionally, partnerships between the AF&PA, environmental groups like Keep America Beautiful, businesses, schools, and the EPA are working to bring even more attention to recycling efforts. Formed in 1990, the Project is a collaborative effort by corporations that manufacture paper, produce office machines that put images on paper, and those that collect office waste paper. In addition, the Project includes public interest groups that represent state and local governments which must respond daily to the nation's solid waste issues. Organizations supportive of environmental initiatives such as The National League of Cities, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The U.S. Postal Service, and National Association of Counties are active members of the Project. Managed under the auspices of the US Conference of Mayors, this unique public/private partnership has set a goal, endorsed by the President, to recycle 65% of all office paper by the year 2000. American Forest & Paper Association’s Forest Product Resources. AF&PA is the national trade association of the forest, paper, and wood products industry. It represents member companies engaged in growing, harvesting, and processing wood and wood fiber, manufacturing pulp, paper, and paperboard products from both virgin and recycled fiber, and producing engineered and traditional wood products. Their Web site includes a section on paper and wood recycling.

Types of Paper to Recycle

Paper—Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, phone books, bulk mail, junk mail, office paper, computer paper, envelopes, gift wrapping paper, cardboard, food boxes, shoeboxes, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, paper egg cartons. American Recycling Market Directories & Reference Manuals: Private publication reproduced by the CIWMB with permission from the publisher. Annual directory that lists paperstock (recovered paper) recycling companies in all 50 states, from mom and pop recycling centers to worldwide brokers. Also lists recycling companies in all 50 states for numerous other secondary materials. The Board makes available on request, with permission from the publisher, the list of California paper stock recycling companies from the ARM. BioCycle: Monthly journal focusing primarily on composting, but typically including one or more articles about materials recycling. 419 State Avenue, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049; (610) 967-4135 Official Board Markets: 312 West Randolph Street, Suite 600, Chicago, Illinois 60606-1721; (312) 553-8922; Fax: (312) 553-8926 Paper Stock Report: Biweekly newsletter primarily covering recovered paper markets. 13727 Holland Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44142-3920; (216) 362-7979; Fax: (216) 362-4623; Pulp & Paper Week: Weekly newsletter covering all aspects of the paper industry, including paper recycling. 525 Market Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, California 94105; (800) 289-0969 (in California); (415) 278-5370; Fax: (415) 278-5371 Recycling Today: Monthly journal focusing primarily on the scrap metal industry, but secondarily covering recovered paper. 4012 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44413-3320; (800) 456-0707; Fax: (216) 961-0364 Resource Recycling: Monthly journal covering all aspects of recycling, composting, and waste prevention. P.O. Box 10540, Portland, Oregon 97210; (503) 227-1319; Fax: (503) 227-6135 A Strategy and Action Plan for Increasing Office Paper Recovery, 1998, Prepared for the National Office Paper Recycling Project by Franklin Associates. Executive Summary (includes ordering information)



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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