Resolute Forest Products operates a recycled pulp mill in Menominee (Michigan) that sources 100% of its fiber from recovered paper. In addition, our Hialeah (Florida) tissue mill manufactures Green Heritage® products that feature recycled and/or virgin fiber content certified to third-party standards such as EcoLogo® and Green Seal®.
- In 2022, 4.3% of Resolute's fiber supply was from recovered fiber, namely sorted office paper (SOP).
- We used 142,000 metric tons of recovered paper in our production processes.
Balancing Virgin and Recycled Fiber
Wood fiber can theoretically be recycled seven to ten 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 to produce paper. Continuing input of virgin fiber is required to sustain the papermaking cycle.
A number of factors must be taken into consideration when assessing a product’s appropriate blend and environmental benefits:
- Raw materials ideally should be available near the mill in order to minimize transport requirements and the fossil fuel emissions generated from 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 locations adjacent to forests.
- It takes water, energy and chemicals to remove ink and other matter from recovered fiber. Putting recovered fiber into higher brightness products, such as photocopy paper, results in greater fiber losses and impacts on the environment. Environmental impacts are generally lower when recovered fiber is "down-cycled" into lower quality grades such as newsprint or boxboard.
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 Resolute’s fiber sourcing practices, visit our Forestry and Fiber Sourcing page.