Recycling Fiber (Paper)…The Basics…

Posted on December 6, 2011 · Posted in PK Metals Blog

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When we think of recycling, paper is one of the first materials that come to mind. In New York City subways, the most common piece of “trash” is a newspaper. There has been a push in recent years to combat this by putting recycling bins (instead of trashcans), in the subway systems. This simple step would dramatically increase how paper is handled, and would have a positive impact on the environment.

Furthermore, the paper recycling segment of the scrap recycling industry processes the recovered fiber into specification grade products that were valued at $8.9 billion in 2010. These products are sold and transported to paper mills at home and abroad for production into new packaging for many different products.

Here are some statistics:

The United States recovered 51.5 million tons of paper in 2010 and this accounts for:

  • 63.5% of the paper consumed in the United States
  • Approximately 334 lbs. for every person in America

In 2010, paper processing was an $8.9 billion industry in the United States.

Nearly 77% of all U.S. papermakers use some recovered paper to make everything from newspaper to paper packaging to office paper.

Recovered paper is exportedto 97 countries including: Canada, China, India, South Korea and Mexico.

Energy saved using recycled materials versus virgin materials is up to 65%.

More than 400 paper mills in the U.S. use at least some recovered materials in their manufacturing processes.

The scrap metal recycling industry welcomes participation in the recycling process from the community. At PK Metals, we have a retail recycling operation, and we speak with members of our community every day. It is crucial for our business (and for the environment) that we continue this dialogue. I would encourage everyone to visit their local scrap metal recycling facility to learn more.

As we discussed in an earlier column, the upcoming holiday season provides a great opportunity for everyone to become familiar with the scrap metal recycling companies in your area.  A beneficial project for your neighborhood can be to collect all of the cardboard boxes that have been accumulated during the holiday season, and bring them to a scrap metal recycling facility.

It may not seem like a lot in your one household, but an entire community can really have an impact on the environment by recycling all of the cardboard and paper products this holiday season.