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Paper Recycling Hits Record High

April 2nd, 2010 1 comment

A record-high 63.4 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2009, according PaperRecycles.org, which is funded by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF & PA).

Paper Recycling

Paper Recycling

The all-time high exceeds the industry’s 60 percent recovery goal three years ahead of schedule.

“Recycling is one of America’s great environmental success stories, and the paper industry is proud of our ongoing leadership role in this arena,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.

“[This] announcement is a testament to the work of the industry and the commitment of millions of Americans who recycle at home, school and work on a daily basis.”

In 2009 the amount of paper recovered for recycling averaged 325 pounds for each man, woman and child in the United States.

About 50 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered last year, down slightly from the year before, after plateauing at about 52 million tons in 2007, reports Environmental Leader.

According to the U.S. EPA, approximately 33 percent of the municipal solid waste stream is made up of paper and paperboard products.

Paper makes up the largest portion of the municipal waste stream and is also one of the most highly recovered materials as 87 percent (268 million) of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.

Thanks Earth911 for the article!

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

Think going digital means being green? Think again.

March 18th, 2010 No comments

Think going digital means being green? A recent blog posting on ZDNet says, “think again.”

The resources required to produce eReaders may be more harmful to the environment than the use of pulp to make your morning paper.

Dozens of minerals and metals have to be mined and refined to make eReaders, not to mention all the plastic that has to be molded to encase the delicate insides.

“There is no question that print media could do a better job of managing the sustainability of its supply chains and waste streams, but it’s a misguided notion to assume that digital media is categorically greener. Computers, eReaders, and cell phones don’t grow on trees and their spiraling requirement for energy is unsustainable,” Don Carli, Executive Vice President of SustainCommWorld LLC and Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Sustainable Communication, said in an interview with ZDNet.

See http://blogs.zdnet.com/doc/?p=771 for more.

Categories: recycle Tags: , ,

Virginia Legislature Rejects Tax on Paper or Plastic Bags

February 17th, 2010 No comments

A Virginia legislative panel has rejected a proposal to levy a tax on consumers who accept paper bags or plastic bags from retailers.

A House Finance subcommittee tabled HB1115, a bill that would have required shoppers to pay a five-cent tax for each carryout bag received from retail establishments, including grocers, pharmacies and department stores.

The move follows on the heels of a decision by state legislators to set aside a proposal to ban plastic retail bags.

“Most public officials have determined that a new tax is not the most effective approach to combat litter – and that recycling works,” says Shari Jackson of the American Chemistry Council’s Progressive Bag Affiliates, which represents domestic plastic bag manufacturers.

The ideal solution would be for consumers to utilize reusable bags as blogged about here: Which is Better… Paper or Plastic?

Roll Call Goes Green

February 2nd, 2010 No comments

Roll Call a Capitol Hill newspaper will be the first publication to be printed on 100 percent recycled paper. The change will reduce the newspaper’s environmental impact, while improving the overall quality for readers and advertisers. It also kicks off a broader initiative to reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint.

“We are very excited about this new greening initiative,” said Laurie Battaglia, managing director and executive vice president, CQ-Roll Call Group. “Our company is the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress, and with this shift to 100 percent recycled paper, we will be the leader among Washington publications with regard to environmentally conscious publishing practices.”

The new paper will be used starting in early March 2010, and is made of 100 percent recycled fiber with up to 40 percent post-consumer content. It is process chlorine free (PCF) and acid free in order to minimize adverse effects to the environment. The paper is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Across the coming year, this important initiative will help CQ-Roll Call Group conserve the following resources:

  • 8,620 trees
  • 50,706 gallons of gasoline
  • 5,273,910 kilowatts of electricity
  • 182,541 gallons of water
  • 30,423 pounds of air pollutants
  • 1,673 cubic yards of landfill space

In addition, Roll Call’s quality and presentation for both readers and advertisers will improve as the new paper will be white, 30 percent brighter and offer greater opacity. As a result, photos, graphics, advertisements and text will be much sharper, more attractive and easier to read.

“This paper stock is brighter, sharper and future-oriented — words that also apply to our journalism,” said Mike Mills, editorial director and senior vice president, CQ-Roll Call Group. “With recent improvements in recovered fiber recycling, we are thrilled that we can now enhance Roll Call’s quality while helping to do more to protect the environment.”

Full story here: http://corporate.cq.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=398

Categories: recycle Tags: , ,

Which is better… Paper or Plastic?

November 18th, 2009 1 comment

Thanks to Earth911 for a great article. Excerpt is here:

Let’s admit it, if it came down to choosing paper versus plastic bags at the checkout line, most people would choose paper. After all, they’re made from a renewable resource and are typically pretty easy to recycle. But when you consider the overall life cycle impact of paper bags over plastic, paper doesn’t look quite as green:

Paper or Plastic, maybe I'll reuse...

Paper or Plastic, maybe I'll reuse...

  • Each year, Americans use about 10 billion paper bags, resulting in the cutting down of 14 million trees.
  • Using paper bags doubles the amount of CO2 produced versus using plastic bags.
  • Plastic grocery bags require 40-70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags.
  • It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.
  • In the U.S. nearly 80 percent of polyethylene (the plastic used for bags) is produced from natural gas. This includes feedstock, process and transportation energy.

According to Keith Christman, senior director of market advocacy for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), plastic bags may actually be the better choice.

But why do bags have such a lower environmental footprint in manufacturing? According to Christman, one of the factors that accounts for this is the difference in weight between a typical paper and plastic bag, with paper bags weighing 10 times as much as their plastic counterparts on average.

“That goes along with the fundamental law of reducing – using much less material in the first place,” he said.

Full and original Earth911 article

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,

GPO Prints the Congressional Record on 100 Percent Recycled Paper

October 12th, 2009 2 comments

The United States Government Printing Office (GPO) and the U.S. Congress have announced that the GPO began printing the Congressional Record on 100 percent recycled-content paper.

The Congressional Record, the official record of the proceedings and debates of Congress, is printed by GPO every day that Congress is in session. In a news release, GPO says it has been testing 100 percent recycled paper throughout 2009. “Those tests showed no difference in printability or run-ability as compared to the 40 percent post-consumer [scrap] recycled paper GPO has been using for years,” says the organization.

“It puts the official proceedings of Congress on recycled paper and that is good for our environment and good for our future,” says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. “This is one more step in the ‘Green the Capitol’ program—making sustainability a priority, placing conservation and energy efficiency at the top of our agenda, and putting America’s leaders at the forefront of an issue that affects all Americans.”

Pelosi offered the remarks when Public Printer Bob Tapella presented her with copies of the Congressional Record printed on 100 percent recycled paper.

“Sustainable Environmental Stewardship is both good business and good government,” declared Tapella. “The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate are both very much in favor of environmental initiatives, and printing the Congressional Record on 100 percent recycled newsprint is one step further in advancing their agendas.”

The GPO describes itself as “the federal government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. government information in all its forms.” More information on the organization is available at www.gpo.gov.

Video: GPO YouTube video

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

San Jose Bans Single Use Shopping Bags

October 8th, 2009 No comments

San Jose Says ‘Paper Nor Plastic’ by Trey Granger

When San Jose voted last week to address the use of disposable bags in grocery stores, it didn’t focus solely on plastic like many other bag bans. Starting in 2011, the city will not offer plastic or paper bags in its retail stores.

According to 2008 U.S. Census data, San Jose is the 10th largest city in the U.S., making it the largest city to have a bag ban at all. Paper bags that are made of at least 40 percent recycled content will still be offered, though, but consumers will still be charged a fee per bag.

Mayor Chuck Reed said a regional approach was the only way to effectively deal with the plastic-bag trash that collects on San Jose’s streets and in rural and urban waterways.

San Jose is the largest city in Santa Clara County, and at the press conference announcing the law, other Santa Clara city mayors were in attendance to show their support. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said he’s looking for neighboring cities to pass the same law, and also promoted the use of reusable bags as an alternative.

Plastic bags receive more negative attention because they are a major source of marine debris. However, paper bags have a large environmental footprint since it takes four times the energy to make a paper bag than its plastic counterpart.

From a disposal standpoint, both paper and plastic bags are recyclable. However, Earth911’s Local Recycling Search includes almost twice as many locations to recycle plastic bags as paper. This is because many grocery stores already collect plastic bags for recycling, whereas paper bag recycling is generally reserved for curbside programs and recycling centers.

Opponents of the measure are concerned about its effect on local businesses. “This will have a major financial impact on my business and disrupt the shopping patterns of my customers,” said Gian Rossini, owner of the Grocery Outlet store, which only provides plastic or reusable bags to its customers. “We have a very strong (plastic bag) recycling program and really encourage our customers to bring them back to be recycled.”

San Jose’s bag ban will not affect restaurants or non-profits. Its passage is also dependent on an environmental impact study that will be conducted by the city.

See full Earth911 article here: San Jose Says ‘Paper Nor Plastic’ by Trey Granger

Also, see San Jose Business Journal article:  San Jose takes the lead on plastic bag ban

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

What to know About Recycling Paper

October 2nd, 2009 2 comments

We all understand the fundamentals of a paper recycling, but there is also some uncertainty about the details.  Here are a few things you (may not, but) SHOULD know!

  • DO NOT let the paper get wet.  Since recyclers purchase paper by weight, the entire lot may get rejected if they see wet paper.  Check your weather before it gets collected unless you are certain the rain won’t get in!
  • No food! Dirty paper plates, napkins, paper towels, etc. are, unfortunately, trash… or should go to compost.  But please, not in the recycle bin – they will quickly cross contaminate the other contents.
  • Do not worry about little things like small paper clips, plastic envelope windows, staples, labels, metal envelope latches or even notebook spirals.  Unlike food matter, they separate easily in processing and can be removed from the batch.
  • Watch the adhesives! Heavily glued (sticky) items can ruin batches of recycled paper.  Don’t toss in those “complimentary” address labels and other stickers.  Post-It Notes are fine but if an envelope has a heavy self-stick flap, tear it off first.
  • Allow tape in moderation. Some tape here and there won’t hurt, but if a box is wrapped in yards of shipping tape, remove it as best you can.  Paper
    tape
    is A-OK!
  • Don’t shred paper unless you must – most recyclers don’t like accepting
    shredded paper
    because it’s a challenge to sort.  If you are a “shredder”, contain it in a paper bag first (or it can be composed!).
  • Skip the heavy-dye, saturated papers with deep, dark colors or fluorescents.  It’s difficult to bleach them back to a usable form.
  • No plastic or wax coated papers (like paper cups), but glossy papers (like magazines) are acceptable.

Remember, the EPA estimates that 40% of solid waste in the U.S. is paper products… shameful!  But paper can actually be recycled up to seven times, and it is easier and cheaper to make pulp from recycled fibers than from wood… awesome!  And one more tidbit to share:

Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees… and those 17 saved trees can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year!

Paper recycling rules!

Original Blog Posting: momgoesgreen.com

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

The Un-Recyclables: Things You Should Keep Out of the Recycling Bin

September 29th, 2009 1 comment

Recycling is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to be green. But that doesn’t mean you can recycle everything. You might know this, if you’ve ever received a note on your empty bin after a pickup day issuing a “no-no” on a certain item you included in your recyclables. But even if you haven’t, chances are you might be including some item in your batch that isn’t eligible for your local recycling efforts. So what’s the big deal?

Well, it’s certainly not the biggest threat to the ecosystem to include too many supposed recyclables—but it does cause a hassle for your friendly neighborhood recycling team. Making them sort through your reusable disposables costs them precious time—and hence, less recycling gets done.

Oils or grease on any paper or corrugated (i.e., cardboard) will generally make the item non-recyclable. The used pizza box is a great example. Something else to keep in mind are the bottle caps on plastic bottles. Many times these are also not recyclable–please check with your local recycling authority to confirm.

Check out the full article here: http://planetgreen.discovery.com

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,