Consumers Need to Recycle More

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Chantal Todé forgot to mention one major factor affecting the supply of recycled paper: Consumers need to recycle more ("Catalog Industry Works to Adopt Recycled Paper," Dec. 27). There is a shortage of recycled fiber in the pulp market. Mills haven't increased the percentage of recycled fiber in papers because they have to take into account sourcing that fiber. Also, the long-term vision of recycled fiber from a supply-side point of view is to take a top-down approach.


For example, high-end brochures, coffee-table books and books for long-term consumption would be printed on virgin fiber. Medium-grade paper products would still be printed on virgin fiber, or maybe with 5 percent to 10 percent PCW. Monthly magazines would be printed on recycled fiber with 10 to 50 percent PCW. Weekly magazines would have more than 50 percent PCW. Dailies and newspapers would have 100 percent PCW. Other paper products like paper towels, napkins and cardboard would have 100 percent PCW that was recycled from newspapers and magazines.


Every time you recycle fiber it hurts the integrity of the fiber. You can only recycle a fiber about five to seven times before it completely falls apart, so you have to use the fiber in lower-quality products.


Also, China and Europe are huge consumers of recycled fiber, which limits the amount available in the United States.


To make it more available, we need to push the recycling agenda more. In Europe, they don't have regular trashcans, they have sectional garbage cans on the street. One section is for plastic, one is for glass and another is for paper. That's not going to happen here anytime soon. Good luck even finding a garbage can on the street these days. Homeland security has taken away all the newspaper recycling bins and garbage cans in the New York subway. We need to educate the public more to recycle at home.


Amy Sander, Central Lewmar, asander@centrallewmar.com


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