Document 233846

How to
The Paper
Recycling Committee
The Paper Recycling Committee of the
American Paper Institute is a national organization,
whose objective is to assure an adequate supply of
good quality waste paper for manufacturers of
paper, paperboard and other products, who depend
on waste paper as a raw material. The American
Paper Institute is the national trade association
representing more than 175 manufacturers of pulp,
paper and paperboard -one of America’s ten
largest industries.
The Committee has been active since World
War I1 in developing methods to improve the quality
of waste paper and to promote more efficient collecting, processing, transporting and storing techniques for waste paper. Activities of the Committee
include educational and communications programs
on recycling directed to the nation’s waste paper
dealers, government officials at all levels, related
industries and the general public.
The purpose of this booklet is to describe how
to establish collection programs for old newspapers,
used corrugated boxes and high grade office papers
for recycling. Collection programs can be organized
by municipalities, civic and charitable organizations,
private trash haulers, individuals owning pick-up
trucks, and businesses including retail stores, supermarkets, factories and office buildings.
American Paper Institute,Inc.
Paper Recycling Committee
260 Madlson Avenue,New York. N.Y. 10016/(212)340 O h 0 0
The text of this brochure is pnnted on paper containing recycled fibers.
COPYRIGHT 0 1990, Amencan Paper Institute, Iiic
Recycling Old Newspapers
When most Americans think about paper recycling, they think about old
newspapers - and with good reason. Each week the average urban or suburban
household gets 20 to 30 pounds of newspapers which can be recycled into new
products. These include: paperboard packaging for foods, household and other
consumer items, newsprint and construction and building materials.
Unfortunately, only 35 percent of the newspapers consumed in this country are
recycled. Sometimes that figure falls short of the volume needed and sometimes
collections exceed demand at recycling mills.
In Sun City, Arizona, for example, a group of six Lions Clubs has banded
together to operate a collection program for the community’s 55,000 residents.
The Lions Clubs earned more than $8,000 per month, which goes to support local
and national charities, as well as to finance Lions Club group activities.
By establishing a newspaper collection program, you can help make a second use
of valuable resources and also reduce the volume of solid waste disposed of in
already overburdened landfills. Prior to starting a collection program for any
grade of waste paper you must first establish a market for the paper to be
collected. Waste paper dealers, those who buy waste paper from collectors, are
listed in the yellow pages under “waste paper.” Recycling centers, which often
ask residents to donate recyclable materials, are usually listed in the yellow pages
under “recycling.”
The following section describes how to organize a newspaper recycling program
for both citizen groups and municipalities.
How CitizenGroups
Organize a Paper Drive
This guide t o organizing paper drives,
based on experience gained by thousands of
groups around the country, includes the basic
information needed t o start a program. Your
organization should look for ways to add to
these basics t o make your newspaper drive
more effective.
Step 1. Establish a market for
your old newspapers
Before starting a program, contact a waste
paper dealer to determine if he will buy old
newspapers in your area and how much he will
pay for them. Dealers are listed in the Yellow
Pages under "Waste Paper." Waste paper dealers, who buy old newspapers and process them
for shipment to the recycling mills, are a key
link in the paper recycling chain. They can usually tell you in advance how much they will pay
for old newspapers and what the outlook is for
future sales.
Because there may be more than one dealer
in your area, you should contact several to get a
better picture of the local demand for old newspapers and to obtain the best quotes on prices.
Depending on the size of your group and the
type of program you are planning, you might be
able to arrange a long term agreement with the
waste paper dealer for your paper. Above all,
establish a good relationship with your waste
paper dealer-as he can provide valuable assistance in organizing your program.
Step 2. Motivate your group
Encouraging the participation of your fellow
group members is the next step. Paper drives
need the full support of volunteers because collecting paper takes time and often requires
weekend work. Your group leader should appoint an organization committee to enlist the
help of various members. A small committee
usually works best, but all final plans for the
drive should be presented to the entire group
for approval before proceeding.
Step 3. Define your
collection area
It is best to test your collection program in a
small area to work out any problems. Then the
paper drive can be expanded accordingly into
other areas or neighborhoods.
The organization committee should determine the initial collection area by working from
a zoning map of your city (usually obtainable
from the City or County Engineer's Office). This
map will show streets and individual lots and
can give you a sense of the population in the
collection area. Your dealer might also help outline the collection area, determine the method
to use and estimate the volume of paper you
can expect to collect.
Step 5. Assign collection
teams & equipment
Step 4. Choose the right
collection method
There are two types of collection methods
your group can use: 1. CURBSIDE, in which
collection teams pick up papers left on the curb
by residents; 2. CENTRAL SITE, in which residents bring their papers to a convenient central
location (examples include churches, synagogues, schools or city hall parking lots), to be
unloaded by your collection teams. The method
you use will depend on the number of volunteers, the type of equipment (cars, trucks, dump
bins, etc.) you are able to obtain and the size of
your collection area.
Central site collections require fewer people
and less equipment than residential. Waste paper dealers frequently supply a large bin, container or trailer in which to load papers brought
to the central site. Curbside collections require
less citizen participation because residents need
only to bundle their papers and place them at
the curb. However, curbside collections require
greater participation from your group members.
Once the area and method of collection are
established, divide the area into roughly equal
sections. The organization committee should assign a collection team and appropriate equipment to each section.
Curbside collections call for vehicles to
drive down each street within an assigned area
to collect paper. Pick-up trucks or panel vans
are ideal for this type of program, but station
wagons and automobiles are also suitable.
Central site collections require one large
container, bin or truck. In most cases, vehicles
can be provided by the dealer. If not, a local
rental agency or trucking firm may be willing to
donate the needed equipment as a public
Group members unload the papers from
the vehicles and stack them in the large containers. Manpower assignments will depend on
the volume of paper you expect to collect. You
are likely to take in less paper on weekly drives
than on monthly drives, so adjust your manpower needs as you go along.
Step 6. Publicity
Once the program is fully organized, inform
the residents in the collection area that they
should save their old newspapers for the upcoming paper drive. The type of publicity campaign mounted to accomplish this objective
depends on the size of the collection area and
the frequency of the paper drives.
If you expect to cover at least one third of
the city, you probably can expect some cooperation from news media in the form of newspaper articles and, perhaps, public service
television and radio announcements. If your
collection area is smaller, take your request directly to the residents via handbills delivered to
each home.
Your first release will announce the formation and launching of your paper drive, but collection reminder releases should be sent on a
weekly or monthly basis, as appropriate.
Taking your message directly to the residents is also very effective. Leave a notice at
each house that will serve as a constant reminder. Fliers, doorknob hangers and storefront
window posters are easy to produce.
All printed materials should include the
name of your group, the date of the collection,
the place (if you are using the central site
method), the types of papers being collected
and how they should be bundled (string tied or
folded in old grocery bags). Items not to be included with the old newspapers and a telephone number residents can call for
information, should also be included in the
publicity material.
If possible, your group should circulate the
fliers and hangers on a regular basis for the first
three or four collections. This will help residents
get into the “recycling habit.”
The Contamination
Regardless of your situation, allow at least
one month between the first announcement of
your drive and your,initial collection date-to
enable residents to begin separating and storing
their old newspapers.
The heart of any publicity program is a
news release, which tells the “who, what, when,
where and why” about the recycling program.
The release should include relevant information
about the program and the name of your
group’s recycling project chairman in case additional information is needed.
Once completed, the release should be sent
to appropriate editors or reporters at every
newspaper, magazine and radio and television
station in your collection area. (Note: If you
don’t know to whom the release should be sent,
call the publication or station.) Television and
radio stations might consider using your releases as public service announcements or as
part of a “community bulletin board” portion of
To obtain the highest value for the old
newspapers your group collects, the papers
must be kept clean, dry and out of direct sunlight. Waste paper dealers will reduce the
amount paid if the papers are wet, “sunburned”
or contain objects or particles that hinder
Unwanted items bundled with waste paper
are known as “contaminants,” which typically
Your waste paper dealer will tell you if he
can accept other paper items, such as telephone
books, paperbacks or magazines. If not, they
should be listed in your publicity as
The easiest and best place to prevent contamination is in the home, where residents
bundle papers for collection. Stress that newspapers should be separated from unwanted
items and tied in bundles or placed in paper
bags. Also, to insure good-quality paper, your
collection teams should watch for obvious contaminants as they collect or unload the paper.
Residents who consistently include contaminants in their paper should be notified and cautioned immediately.
Keeping a close watch on the quality of the
collected paper is another way to obtain the
highest value possible when you sell it to your
Paper RecyclingA Proven Fund Raiser
Organizations of all types and sizes have
successfully collected old newspapers for many
years. They have earned sizeable incomes to
finance projects while reducing the amount of
solid waste disposed in local landfills. Here are
some good examples:
The Calumet Council of the Boy Scouts of
America organized a one-day drive that netted
nearly 500 tons of old newspapers worth almost
$8,500. The drive involved 7,000 Boy and Cub
Scouts in 88 communities in metropolitan Chicago and northern Indiana working under adult
supervisors and direction from a local waste paper dealer, who also provided collection bins
and other equipment and purchased all of the
collected papers.
The Conestoga High School Band in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has conducted drives for
years and collected more than five million
pounds of paper. Sponsored by the Band Parents Association, the drives have earned funds
for new band uniforms, as well as band trips to
Florida and other places.
But, paper collections aren’t restricted to
youngsters, as proven by the Old Guard, a senior citizen group in Bricktown, New Jersey,
which has been collecting an average of 35 tons
of papers each month for the last 10 years.
Using conveyer belts and power lifts for the
heavy work, the group raises more than $5,000
annually to support club activities, local hospital
services and a dozen college scholarships for
area students.
Municipal Programs
The number of municipal newspaper programs in America is increasing due in part to
the growing awareness by municipal officials
of the savings that can result from reduced
collection and disposal costs. Another contributing element is the rapid depletion of
available landfill space in many areas of the
Cities usually collect separated, bundled
papers in the course of the regular trash collection, or maintain recycling centers in public works yards where residents can bring
their paper and other recyclable items.
Municipal programs should not be viewed
as replacing civic or charitable paper
drives-but as augmenting them instead. The
publicity campaign conducted in connection
with the municipal program helps establish
the “recycling habit” more firmly in the community and benefits group paper drives as
well. The charitable group programs should
take place on days when there is no municipal collection . . . or the program can be organized in a location where municipal
collectors do not collect newspapers bundled
by residents.
The following section describes the various steps usually taken to establish a municipal newspaper collection program.
Step 1. Establish a market for
your old newspapers
A municipality making the effort to collect
waste paper can often negotiate a long-term
contract with a recycling mill or a waste paper
dealer. Typical long-term contracts run for two
years, and usually include a pricing structure.
The price paid for collected papers can be either a constant per-ton amount throughout the
term of the contract, or the price can fluctuate,
either up or down, based on published market
data. In the case of a fluctuating rate, the contract may include a minimum price.
Step 2. Select a compatible
collection method
There are two principal collection methods
in use. The first method is TRUCK COLLECTION-in which sanitation trucks are fitted with
special racks or tow-trailers to collect papers on
regular collection days (i.e. an “integrated” system), or separate trucks are used on a special
schedule. The second method is CENTRAL
SITE COLLECTION-in which a portion of a
municipal yard or parking lot is set aside for
permanent collection containers.
The advantage of an integrated system is
that residents need not remember special collection days. They simply put out bundled
newspapers next to their refuse containers. Limitations to this system include the need for periodic emptying of the racks or trailers at
temporary storage locations and the initial cost
of adding the special equipment to existing
The separate truck system covers collection
routes faster and eliminates the need for temporary storage. Also, municipalities may be able to
make use of under-utilized vehicles already on
hand. However, residents must learn a new collection schedule for old newspapers that is separate from trash collection.
Central site collection has lower labor and
equipment costs, but also is less efficient because it relies on residents to bring their papers
to the site. In this respect, central site collections require greater citizen education than
truck collections.
Municipal recycling expenses will depend
on the prevailing cost of collection and disposal
and on the extent of public cooperation. It often
is possible to collect old newspapers on a profitable basis because three quarters of the cost of
trash collection is the cost of getting trucks and
men to the area in which they are needed. A
recycling program should be approached as one
which will pay for itself-both in dollars and in
long-term benefits to the environment-and
secondarily as a source of revenue.
Weekly newspaper stories should be written
for the first few months of the program. Some
subjects for the articles include: the success of
the program in terms of paper collected, the
value of recycling old newspapers in helping to
solve solid waste and environmental problems,
how paper is recycled, and the identity of local
groups, if any, participating in the program. If
possible, a report should detail how savings in
disposal costs and revenue from the drive will
benefit the community.
Step 4. Voluntary us.
mandatory separation
Municipal collection programs should be
voluntary in that they request citizen support,
but do not mandate it. Programs are successful
if there is adequate public awareness. In any
municipal program residents should have the
option of diverting newspapers to paper drives
run by civic and charitable groups, if they wish.
NOTE: If your municipality decides its
newspaper collection program should be voluntary, an anti-pilfering or anti-scavenger ordinance may be necessary. This ordinance will
make it illegal for anyone but municipal workers
to collect newspapers placed at the curb on municipal collection days.
Step 3. Mobilize resident
support through public
It is vital that a continuous public information program be mounted and maintained to
establish the “recycling habit” among residents.
A slogan, name or symbol for your program will
help increase public awareness. Repetition in all
announcements or ads will reinforce recognition. The mayor or another prominent municipal official should hold a press conference a
month or so prior to the first collection date to
gain maximum exposure for the program. City
officials can assist by contacting newspaper, radio and television reporters to ask for their continuing support for this important public
Where recycling is
a way of lije
The experiences of scores of cities and
towns indicate that municipal recycling programs are an effective means of reducing solid
waste disposal costs. When implemented with
existing manpower and equipment, these programs require a minimum of administrative
costs; thus resulting in substantial savings.
Rockford, Illinois, a city of 150,000 residents located northwest of Chicago, began a
newspaper recycling program in 1974. During
the first 30 months of operation, the program
has returned a total net savings on solid waste
disposal costs of $40,000.
Citizen participation in the program is voluntary. Residents are asked to place string-tied
bundles of newspapers no more than 12 inches
high on the curb with their regular refuse. Rockford’s private refuse contractor compacts the
trash in 12-cubic-yard garbage vehicles and collects newspapers in an area on top of the
pusher-packers as part of regular collections.
The papers are off-loaded at the landfill site
onto a 40-foot tractor trailer, which is emptied
The more than 2,180 tons of old newspapers collected during the period were sold for
$49,000. As the papers were recycled rather
than added to the landfill, the city saved another $15.000 in dumD charaes. which aver-
aged $6.60 per ton, for a total gross saving of
$64,000. Additional city labor for handling the
papers accounted for $24,000.
The City of Rockford has conducted an ongoing publicity campaign to encourage residents to participate in the program. In addition
to using newspaper articles and radio public
service announcements, municipal officials allocate a portion of the income from the newspaper sales to purchase tree seedlings, which
are given to residents free of charge to help
beautify the city.
The Village of Ridgewood, New Jersey, also
has proven that recycling makes sense even for
small communities. Currently, Ridgewood’s
30,000 residents save about five percent of their
total solid waste disposal costs by recycling.
The program in this New York City suburb
began in 1973, after a two-month test of 400
residents proved successful. Old newspapers
are collected every other week as part of a regular bulk collection of furniture, appliances,
yard waste, etc. The Village’s nine 25-cubicyard compactor trucks make their regular routes
picking up only the refuse. At the end of the
route, the compactor blade is lifted as high as
possible to create a storage space at the back of
the truck, and the crew then goes back along
the route collecting old newspapers. Any overflow is placed in barrel racks installed o n the
Since there is no ordinance requiring residents to separate their papers from the other
refuse, Ridgewood relies on an extensive publicity program conducted by active citizen
groups. There is, however, an anti-scavenger ordinance, which protects the papers put out on
curbs. The ordinance only covers bulk collection days in order to allow Boy Scouts and
other groups to collect newspapers on
In a recent one-year period, the program
collected 450 tons of old newspapers, which
were sold for $15,000. Savings on landfill dump
charges added another $1,600 for a total saving
of $16,600. The Village uses existing equipment and claims there has been no increase in
labor costs with the addition of the recycling
corrugated boxes are the largest single source of waste
r recycling. In fact, used corrugated comprises about 40
f a l l waste paper recycled in the U S . , and the overall use
grade of waste paper by recycling mills is expected to
stores, supermarkets, factories and department stores
ecycle used boxes and cartons for financial reasons.
g today's high cost of disposing of solid waste,
ffers businessmen a n attractive alternative to paying
ulers to dump good-quality waste paper in municipal
1s. In addition t o saving on their trash hauling bills,
ssmen can often profit from the sale of used corrugated
o local waste paper dealers or mills.
northeast region major supermarket chain reports that 110
in the area generate some 250 tons of corrugated
rs per week. The corrugated is either back-hauled t o
ses or sold directly t o dealers. The savings in trash
ees alone is close t o $2 million per year for the region.
fferent methods are practiced to keep used corrugated
arate from other refuse and to ship it t o recycling mills.
of collection program employed by a commercial or
1 facility will depend on the amount of corrugated
ted, available storage facilities and proximity of recycling
nd/or waste paper dealers. The following section offers
1 advice on establishing a successful used corrugated
ction program.
StepsIn Establishing
Recycling Program
Step 1. Establishing a market
for your waste paper
The first step in any recycling effort is to
determine the market value of the paper your
company generates. Most cities have waste
paper dealers who buy waste paper from local
businesses and the general public. Dealers,
listed in the Yellow Pages under “Waste
Paper,” are the best source of information on
the amount of money being paid for used corrugated boxes. If possible, contact several
dealers in your area to insure that you receive
the fairest price for your paper.
Step 2. Keep used
comgated sepamte
from the tmsh
Once you have determined the market for
your used corrugated boxes, keep it separate
from other refuse generated by your business.
This source separation procedure will keep
your waste paper free of contaminants, and
increase its value. Source separation also eliminates the time consuming and difficult task of
sorting recyclable corrugated boxes after it has
been mixed together with unwanted material
(see separate heading for a complete explanation on contaminants).
Step 3. Devise an efficient
handling system
Step 4. Arrange for pickup of
your corrugated
Next, you must devise an efficient system of
handling the corrugated boxes from the point of
origin to the storage area where it is picked up
by a dealer. In the case of a small retail establishment, the system might be nothing more
than tying up the empty boxes with cord and
piling them in the back room or outside the
back door. Stores generating greater amounts of
corrugated might require the installation of a
small baler, which can effectively reduce the
amount of storage space required. Larger businesses, such as department stores, factories and
assembly plants, usually generate the greatest
quantities of old corrugated containers and may
require the installation of larger compacting and
baling equipment to handle the volume. (A
complete description of baling and compacting
units appears under a separate heading. ) In
some instances, industrial shredders are also installed to further reduce the bulk of the boxes
prior to baling.
Retail stores that are part of a chain of
stores often find it more profitable to backhaul
used boxes from individual stores to regional
warehouse facilities for processing, rather than
handle the material on a store-by-store basis.
Large balers or compactors are installed at
these central processing points to handle the
combined tonnage of used corrugated generated in the region. Thus, the same trucks that
deliver goods to the stores are used to backhaul
used boxes to the warehouses.
A local waste paper dealer can offer valuable assistance in determining a corrugated recovery system to meet the needs of individual
businesses. He can suggest and, in some cases,
supply the right combination of equipment to
handle the volume of used corrugated being
Once the corrugated has been processed,
arrange to have it picked up from your store or
plant. In the vast majority of cases, a waste paper dealer will make the necessary pickups. In
some instances, however, large generators of
waste paper can sell their corrugated directly to
paper recycling mills. In these cases, the mills
arrange for the pickups.
A growing number of firms, especially
smaller retail outlets, have found that local residents or employees with pickup trucks or vans
will gladly remove used boxes from the property free of charge and sell them to a dealer.
Although these firms don’t realize a profit since
the boxes are being given away, they are able to
substantially reduce their trash hauling costs,
This type of system is attractive to businesses
that do not generate sufficient quantities to
make it profitable for waste paper dealers to
provide pickup service.
Step 5. Establish a
relationship with
local dealevs
When the recycling program is underway, it
is important for your firm to maintain a close
relationship with one or more dealers in the
area. By so doing, you will guarantee a relatively stable and reliable outlet for your
collected paper. Dealers are more likely to continue buying from their established suppliers,
instead of firms with erratic collection programs.
Used Corrugated
Boxes Must Be Kept
Free of Contaminants
To realize the maximum value for your used
corrugated boxes, be sure it is free of all debris
and unwanted material. Contamination is a serious concern of the paper recycling industry
since unwanted materials adversely affect production efficiency and product quality.
Contaminants can range from such obvious
items as Styrofoam packing material and metal
cans to less apparent materials like wax and
plastic coated cartons. The list below includes
unwanted materials most commonly found in
used corrugated boxes generated at commercial
and industrial facilities. As a general rule, however, employees who process used corrugated
containers should be instructed not to include
boxes they suspect may have contaminants.
Common Contaminants
Plastics, such as trays used to package food
items, Styrofoam packing materials; plastic
bags, wrap and film; plastic cups, etc.
Metal objects, such as wire hangers, case
strapping, cans, nails, etc.
Plastic and wax coated cartons, such as those
commonly used to pack fresh produce. They
are distinguishable because color is a very dark
brown and the surface is shiny.
Junk (called “tramp materials”), including floor
sweepings, wood, food waste, cans, trash. etc.
Attractively designed posters, depicting
these common contaminants, are available at
nominal cost from the American Paper Institute.
These posters can be displayed in storage or
baling areas as a constant reminder to employees that the waste paper should be kept clean
and contaminant-free.
Baling and Compacting
Equipment Can
Facilitate the Handling of
Used Corrugated
While the purchase of special equipment
is not essential for the success of every corrugated recycling program, many businesses
have found that compactors and/or balers
facilitate the handling and storing of used corrugated. In many cases, the use of this special
equipment has increased the revenues from
the recycling program.
Baling and compacting equipment come in
a wide range of sizes and models to meet the
needs of any recycling program. The following
models are used by commercial and industrial
establishments to facilitate handling and to reduce the space required to store used corrugated prior to shipment to dealers or mills.
Portable S e r i e S - ~ ~ S m a l l e r ”
type of baler can be wheeled from
one location to another, as needed. It can be
operated easily by unskilled laborers, and requires no special electrical wiring or employee
training. This model produces bales weighing
from 100 to 300 pounds each, and is recommended for facilities with moderate volumes of
corrugated waste.
Baler-These units are installed permanently
at locations where larger volumes of used corrugated are generated, such as the back rooms
of supermarkets or loading dock areas of
industrial facilities. They are also operable by
unskilled laborers. Horizontal or vertical stationary balers can produce industrial-size bales
weighing from 250 to 600 pounds.
Portable Baler
Most Popular Series-will
Size” Baler-These horizontal and vertical
units produce large “mill size” bales weighing
750 to 1,300 pounds. These balers are
commonly used by those supermarkets, stores
and plants processing large volumes of
corrugated box waste.
Extra Heauy Duty Series
-These units are used for baling chipboard,
folding carton and solid fibered boxboard stock
commonly generated by industrial operations,
such as printing and converting plants,
breweries and factories. Bale weights range
from 900 to 1,800 pounds.
Compactors, like balers, come in a variety
of sizes to meet the specific needs of your business operation. Compactors are generally
needed by large retail stores and plants that
generate a high volume of waste paper daily.
They are normally located in the loading dock
area and are filled continuously during working
hours by your personnel. When full, the container is removed by specially-equipped trucks
and transported to local dealers or mills.
Recycling Can Reduce
Waste Disposal Costs
and Generate Income
There are many sound environmental reasons for recycling more of our nation’s wastes,
beginning with the diminishing availability of
landfill space in urban areas. But the primary
motive for businessmen to establish recycling
programs is economics. Some companies have
found they can create a “profit center” from the
waste paper generated by their companies.
The Northern Division of a supermarket
chain, for example, is realizing savings in disposal costs, as well as profits from the sale of
the used boxes generated by the division’s 275
stores. The chain estimates a monthly savings of
$300 per store, or $82,500 per month for the
entire region. In addition, the chain receives up
to $80,000 per month by selling its baled corrugated to recycling mills. The recycling program,
therefore, represents some $1.9 million annually for the Northern Division.
Department stores, factories and assembly
plants throughout the country report similar reductions in their monthly trash bills and profits
from the resale of their baled or compacted
used corrugated boxes. Major chain stores, for
example, have been recycling corrugated for
years, as have various manufacturing plants.
A midwestern glass company once paid
$300 per month for disposal of its used corrugated, but now earns $800 per month by selling the corrugated to local paper stock dealers.
In this case, expenses for the program have
been kept to a minimum by assigning maintenance employees to run the baler on a part
time basis.
Prevailing waste paper market conditions,
the volume of corrugated generated, and the
actual reduction in trash hauling costs will ultimately determine the profitability of any recycling program. It makes good business sense
today, in light of rising operating costs, to stop
thinking of waste paper as trash to be disposed
of, and, instead, to view used corrugated boxes
as a valuable raw material to be recovered and
Recycling High Grade Office Papers
High grade waste papers, such as trimmings and cuttings from converting and
printing plants, computer printouts, tabulating cards and desk top papers are a
valuable source of fiber for paper recycling. High grades account for
approximately 20 percent of all waste paper utilized by the recycling industry as a
raw material, and are more valuable in the marketplace than most other types of
waste paper because they can be used as a substitute for woodpulp in the
papermaking process. Depending on prevailing markets, dealers usually pay
more for these grades of waste paper than for lower grades, such as old
newspapers and used corrugated boxes.
Most of the high-quality paper recycled is in the form of cutting or trimmings
from converting/printing plants that produce the various paper products.
However, a growing number of office buildings around the country have become
aware of the value of their high grade waste paper. They have established
recycling programs to keep clean recyclable waste paper separate from office
In addition to the revenues from the sale of paper, offices can often reduce
disposal costs, since the paper is no longer treated as trash to be carted away. In
fact, a recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
found that separating recyclable paper from the trash reduced the volume of solid
waste in 12 office buildings by an average of 34 percent and, in one case, up to 78
While the primary motivation for recycling office papers is profit, there are
important environmental benefits, too. The EPA estimates that 90 percent of all
office waste by weight is waste paper, which ends up in already crowded landfills.
Since most office building are located in urban areas, effective office recycling
programs can have a significant impact on reducing the volume of solid waste
disposed of in municipal landfills. The following section offers a step-by-step
approach to recycling office paper.
How toRecycle
InOffice Buildings
While specific procedures for handling
recyclable waste paper vary from building to
building, according to their individual layouts, the following approach is recommended to implement an effective office
program .
Step 1. Establish a market
for your paper
The important first step in any office recycling program is to contact a local waste paper
dealer listed in the Yellow Pages under “waste
paper.” Iie can tell you the grades of paper
that are in demand in your area, the price
being paid, and provide assistance in setting
up your program.
Step 3. Separate recyclable
papers at the desk
It is important to keep recyclable waste
paper separate from unwanted paper and
other items that hinder recycling. The easiest
place to do this is at the desk where the paper
is generated. Some offices use-desk-top containers, such as file trays or napkin-type holders, where employees place different types of
papers in separate compartments. Other firms
use centrally located bins-for the recyclable
paper being collected. A list describing recyclable and non-recyclable office papers should be
distributed to all employees, indicating that
only recyclable grades should be saved.
Step 2. Announce the
program to employees
A successful recycling program depends
on employee cooperation, since it is the employees who must develop the new habit of
separating recyclable paper from other office
trash. Therefore, employees should receive
several announcements of the recycling program (for example, once a week for three
weeks) before it begins. These announcements
should indicate management support for the
program and inciude as much information as
possible about the collection procedures (see
below). As an incentive to workers, some firms
donate a percentage of the program’s income
to a scholarship fund, local charity or to sponsor office parties or outings.
Step 4. Devise an ejficient
collection system
The system used for transporting the collected recyclable paper to an area for pickup by
a waste paper dealer will depend on the physical layout of your offices. In general, regular
custodial personnel can collect the recyclable
paper from desks or centrally located bins and
deposit it in larger containers usually located
outdoors or in the loading dock area, with little
or no extra time required.
Step 5. Keep waste paper
free of contaminants
Contamination, which includes nonrecyclable paper and other materials, substantially lowers the value of office waste paper
because it produces serious problems in the
paper manufacturing process. Contaminants
run the gamut from such obvious items as food
waste, beverage bottles and cans to some
not-so-obvious materials like gummed labels
and magazines (see separate heading for a full
explanation of contaminants).
Step 6. Publicity and follow
up on the program
The success of an office paper recycling
program depends largely on the continued
cooperation of all employees. Memos updating
the success of a recycling program can keep
employee interest at a high level until the program becomes a “recycling habit.” Also,
periodic publicity about the program will help
assure participation, especially for new employees. This publicity can appear in local
newspapers, company publications and special
interoffice “recycling memos,’’ or it can take the
form of special announcements or awards at
office parties or gatherings.
Office Waste Paper Must Be
Free From Contaminants
The high value of office paper depends on
its being free of all unwanted material. Common trash items such as lunch bags and coffee
cups are considered contaminants, as are lower
grades of waste paper like newspapers, magazines and cardboard which also must be separated from recyclable office papers. While these
grades are recyclable individually, they become
contaminants when mixed with the high grades
of waste paper.
Consult your waste paper dealer to learn
exactly which papers should be collected in
your office. Meanwhile, the following list identifies some of the commonly recycled office
grades and some common contaminants:
An attractively designed office poster
describing these recyclable grades and
contaminants is available at nominal cost
from the American Paper Institute.
The poster should be placed
near the designated recycling containers to
remind employees to keep clean waste
paper separate from contaminants.
Recycling At One Of The
World’s Largest
Office Complex
The Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, which operates the World Trade Center
in lower Manhattan, has been conducting a
successful office waste paper recovery program
for several years. The Port Authority’s experience has shown that hundreds of tons of
good-quality paper can be extracted efficiently
from large office buildings without disrupting
the normal office work routine.
The paper recycling program was started in
1974 in the offices of the Port Authority and a
few private tenants. Today, the program has
become an accepted part of the daily routine of
nearly 10,000 employees in the “Twin Towers”
and includes almost 75 private companies and
various federal and state governmental offices.
The number of “paper recycling stations” has
jumped from 15,in 1974 to more than 300
A paper recycling (collection) station is
simply a clearly marked waste basket,
cardboard box, fiber drum or even an unused
storage shelf where the employees voluntarily
deposit recyclable waste paper. Some of the
stations are reserved for just one or two grades
of paper, such as computer printouts or tabulating cards, while other stations are for a wider
variety of general office papers, including white
typing, xerographic and scratch paper. A poster
at each station reminds the employees what
types of paper and office material should not
be included with the recyclable waste paper.
The Port Authority recovers several grades
of waste paper, totaling approximately one ton
per day. The largest single grade is manila
tabulating cards, traditionally one of the most
valuable grades for recycling. The crew also
picks up 1.5 tons of old newspapers per month
deposited by commuters in specially designed
boxes located in the Twin Tower lobbies. The
remainder of the paper includes colored
tabulating cards, computer printout paper and
white ledger.
Income from the sale of the waste paper
has more than offset the Port Authority’s
expenses, even during periods of economic
recession when the value of waste paper drops
substantially. Equipment costs have been kept
to a minimum by using spare waste baskets and
fiber drums at collection stations whenever
Expenses to get the program underway
amounted to approximately $1,500, half of
which went for printing of educational posters
and the other half to purchase second-hand
automated equipment.
Within a year, the Port Authority had more
than offset these initial costs and was covering
the ongoing labor expenses of a special nineman crew, which collects and stores the waste
paper for pick-up by a local dealer. Current
labor costs are running approximately $1,700
per month, and the Port Authority expects to
purchase an additional $1,000 worth of
equipment, all from the revenues of the program, to further enhance its success.
Recycling Is A Way Of Life at
Midwest W t y Company
Many offices have found that providing
employees with desk-top bins is the most effective method of separating high grade waste
paper from unwanted office material and trash.
At the Detroit Edison Company, for example, all 1,800 office workers have small trays
resembling napkin holders where they regularly place typing paper, letterheads, scratch
paper, xerographic paper, business forms and
computer printouts. Each employee then deposits his collected paper in any of 170
cardboard boxes placed at regular mail box
On a pre-arranged schedule, a mail room
employee hired to handle the waste paper
empties the paper into a large wheeled cart. He
then transports the cart to the loading dock
area where it is stored for pick-up by a local
waste paper dealer.
The program produces about eight tons of
high grade paper every week and represents a
gross yearly income of about $24,000 and a
net income of about $12,000 a year for the
utility company.
Employee education regarding the program was accomplished smoothly in a threeweek period. All workers received a 15-minute
orientation, identifying the types of recyclable
paper. Each worker then was assigned a coordinator, who could answer questions about
the program as it progressed. As a constant
reminder to employees, attractive posters are
displayed at each collection station, describing
what papers should be deposited.
The posters, as well as the 170 collection
boxes, were purchased at a total cost of less
than $500. The only other expense in implementing the program was the hiring of the full
time mailroom employee and $500 for two
dozen fire resistant covers for the bins where
the paper is stored for pick-up.