The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 3, Number 1
Mar 1990


Recycled Paper Update

The January American Papermaker was full of information on recycled paper. In it we learn that there are three U.S. mills making 100% recycled newsprint, of which the largest by far is Southeast Paper in Dublin, Georgia. Both Southeast and Garden State Paper Company in Garfield, New Jersey, are owned wholly or partly by Media General and use the same deinking process.

Deinking is a process that is essential in the recycling of postconsumer waste, but it has certain problems. The first is the high cost of a deinking plant. Next is the difficulty or impossibility of removing all kinds of ink. As fast as the deinking industry figures out how to remove the kinds of ink in present use, the printing industry starts to use a new printing process for which new kinds of ink are invented. Next is what to do with the sludge and leftover chemicals. Although environmentalists promote recycling because of its beneficial effect an the environment, the picture is not always simple, because all the effects of all the processes and uses have to be taken into consideration, and this does not seem to have been done for postconsumer waste paper.

However, Southeast and Garden State are described as having these last two problems under control. Their proprietary deinking process (developed by Garden State in 1961) can process almost any kind of ink, including flexographic, which flotation processes cannot handle. And Southeast uses the sludge for fuel, after drying and compressing it. (No information is offered on what happens to the incombustible part of the sludge, or on the nature of the combustion products.)

On p. 18 there is an article that discusses the effect an Canadian newsprint mills of the recycling laws of the 14 states that require recycled fiber in newspapers. Canada has only me newsprint recycling mill, but sells a great deal of newsprint in the U.S. In order to keep their markets, Canadian mills will have to either build their own deinking plants (at $50-$l00 million apiece) or move closer to the source of their fiber, the cities (at $300 million and up for each new mill). Jackie Cox, the author of this article, writes,

It has been estimated that newsprint can be recycled four to eight times before the deinking process weakens the individual fibers to the point that they can not hold together. Therefore, even if U.S. legislators wanted to eliminate the use of virgin fiber entirely, they can not do so. Fresh newsprint must constantly be injected into the fiber pool, said one official, and quality demands from newspaper publishers cannot be ignored.

Other concerns. An added byproduct of recycled newsprint is that the process will add a new environmental problem for the industry to solve. In addition to dioxins, it will also have to deal with getting rid of the 10% to 20% of fibers and the ink left over after deinking.

The California law does not require purchase of recycled newsprint if it costs more than newsprint made of virgin fiber, which means that mills that want to sell in that market, or in any market with this cost provision, have to give up the idea of getting back the cost of any deinking plants, equipment modifications or new mills that would be necessary in order to compete.

Mm January ' Pulp & Paper (p. 65) said that the price of old newspapers for recycling recently hit -$25 in certain parts of the Northeast. This means that you actually had to pay dealers to haul away the old newspapers collected for recycling. At the other end of the market, pulp substitutes were in great demand in 1989. (These are unprinted trimmings from printers and converters.) In fact, prices were so high that some mills were using deinking grades instead, and postconsumer waste is now used increasingly even in paper for office copiers and computers. One company, Steinbeis of the Federal Republic of Germany, makes computer paper out of 100% old newspapers. Both Nekoosa and Hammermill are offering papers with some postconsumer waste fiber.

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URL: http://cool.conservation-us.org/byorg/abbey/ap/ap03/ap03-1/ap03-114.html
Timestamp: Sunday, 03-Mar-2013 21:41:29 PST
Retrieved: Friday, 17-Nov-2017 19:18:56 GMT