SFPNA Sustainability Report 2012: Recycled Fiber

SFPNA Sustainability Report 2012: Recycled Fiber

Waste reduction is a fundamental tenet of sustainability and recycling is an integral element of any solid waste management plan. It is especially important to recycle paper to avoid the generation of methane emissions in landfills.

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SFPNA Sustainability Report: 2012 Recycled Fiber

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 5:00pm

CAMPAIGN: SFPNA Sustainability Report 2012

CONTENT: Article

All of SFPNA’s coated fine papers are recyclable, and we are strong proponents of educational outreach regarding the recovery of paper.

Avoiding Prescriptive Policies We do not believe that the use of recovered fiber is a one-size-fits-all solution and we promote a practice of “best use” for recycled fiber in paper products. Ultimately, the use of recycled fiber should be based on an evaluation of both economic and environmental consequences. Prescriptive policies or guidelines that require maximizing recycled fiber content or that control the flow of fiber markets without taking all factors into consideration should be avoided.

Recycling Education and Outreach When it comes to recycling rates, no basic material has a better track record than paper. In 2011, our industry reached an all-time high paper recovery rate of 66.8 percent, whereas EPA data show less than ten percent of plastics are recovered. SFPNA personnel are directly involved in helping to shape recycling outreach programs such as the partnership between Kaleidoscope and the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) aimed at educating elementary school students. Our membership also helps to support the AF&PA annual Recycling Awards as well as the nationwide college campus recycling competition, Recyclemania. Ongoing efforts such as these have set our industry on course to achieve the goal of recovering more than 70 percent of the paper consumed in the US by the year 2020.

While some segments of our industry (e.g., corrugated containers) are recovered at extremely high levels, printing and writing grades tend to lag behind. Therefore, we are especially focused on educating stakeholders about the recyclability of printing papers. We extend outreach to these groups through a variety of channels including social media, local community engagement efforts, presentations and printed educational pieces such as our eQ Journals.

Promoting Best Use of Recycled Fiber Contrary to popular belief, industry research shows that adding recycled fiber to certain grades of paper can actually raise the carbon footprint. Because most of the energy used to process recycled fiber is purchased from the power grid, many deinking mills have higher carbon emissions than Sappi’s integrated pulp mills that carefully manage energy use from renewable sources.

In policy and practice, SFPNA urges customers to recycle papers of all kinds. Our goal is to see that recovered fibers are put to best use—in the right locations and the right grades based on evaluating and balancing economic and environmental factors. Ultimately, recycled fiber should be used in products where it displaces fiber with a higher carbon footprint. Furthermore, the global fiber markets are dynamic and complex. Overseas demand continues to grow and create high value for recycled papers. We do not support policies that would control or restrict fair markets for these products.

To read the full report, please download a PDF from our website link: 2012 Sustainability Report.


CATEGORY: Environment