Thanks to Resolute Forest Products' full circle recycling programs, environmentally aware consumers can rest assured that the paper they recycle today will become brand new paper in a few short weeks.
- Resolute diverted approximately 1.3 million air dried metric tons (ADMT) of old newspapers, magazines and telephone directories from landfills in 2013.
- We have paper collection operations and related assets in 20 metropolitan centers across the United States and in the province of Ontario, Canada. Our fiber recovery operations encompass a combination of community drop-off programs, partnerships with municipalities and recycling arrangements with businesses and commercial offices, through two key programs — Paper Retriever® and EcoRewards®.
- We manufacture approximately 30 different grades of paper with recycled content, and 7 of our pulp and paper mills have de-inking facilities: Augusta (Georgia), Calhoun (Tennessee), Fairmont (West Virginia), Menominee (Michigan), Mokpo (South Korea), Ponderay (Washington) and Thorold (Ontario).
In addition to meeting customer requirements with recycled content collected from "urban forests", our recycling activities provide direct environmental benefits by reducing deposits to solid waste landfills, which, in turn, reduces the methane emissions that contribute to the greenhouse gas problem. The use of recycled fiber also reduces the amount of energy required to manufacture many paper products.
Balancing Virgin and Recycled Fiber
Wood fiber can theoretically be recycled up to seven times. But the fibers lose some of their strength with each round of recycling, becoming shorter and shorter until they can no longer be used for producing paper. Continuing input of virgin fiber is required to sustain the papermaking cycle.
A number of factors must be taken into consideration when assessing the appropriate blend and the product's environmental benefits:
- Raw materials ideally should be available close to the mill in order to minimize transport requirements and the fossil fuel emissions inherent in truck or rail transportation.
- Production of recycled grades tends to be concentrated at facilities in or near urban areas with ready access to supplies of recovered paper, while grades requiring high levels of virgin fiber are produced at mills situated in more remote, less populous regions adjacent to forests.
- It takes water, energy and chemicals to remove ink and other matter from recovered fiber. Putting recovered fiber into whiter, high-quality products, such as photocopy paper, results in greater fiber loss and impact on the environment. There is generally less environmental impact when recovered fiber is "down-cycled" into lower quality grades such as newsprint or cardboard.
Paper grade and intended end-use essentially dictate the basic fiber mix. Generally speaking, the higher the paper quality, the higher the level of virgin fiber required. The challenge is to come up with a fiber composition that will achieve the desired properties in terms of strength, opacity and brightness with the lowest possible environmental impact.
For more information on the efficient use of recovered fiber in paper, visit www.thepaperlifecycle.org.