Report Looks at Recycled Content Use by Northeast Newspaper Publishers

The first full year of monitoring for the Northeast Newspaper Publishers' Agreement has just been completed. Publishers reported on the total amount of newsprint paper consumed and the total amount of recycled newsprint fiber contained in that newsprint paper for calendar 2001.

The question asked of the publishers about newsprint recycled content was reframed this year (as compared to the questions asked in 2000) to more specifically address percentage of recycled newsprint fiber used rather than the average percent of recycled content newsprint used (un-weighted). As a result, the figures obtained last year cannot be compared with this year. However the 2001 figures can be compared to those in the benchmark year, 1997 (as described in the Newspaper Publishers Agreement Task Force Report).

At that time, newspaper publishers in the region were using newsprint containing an average of 27 percent recycled newsprint fiber content. In 2001, they were using newsprint containing an average of 28.8 percent recycled newsprint fiber. The report showed that the northeast newspaper publishers not only met their commitment of 27 percent recycled newsprint fiber usage, they actually slightly exceeded it.

Several changes occurred in the newspaper industry over the past year, and these changes are reflected in the figures; most notably, a 39 percent decrease in metric tons of newsprint purchased. It dropped from 2,520,967 tons in 2000 to 1,529,783 tons in 2001. To put this into historical perspective in 1996— according to the Newspaper Association of America, consumption of newsprint by daily newspaper publishers in the Northeast totaled 2 million tons.

Overall, the publishers remain firmly committed to the intention of the Newspaper Publishers' Agreement, and to the use of recycled content in newsprint. The Northeast Newspaper Publishers' Agreement has been signed by publishers representing more than 80 percent of the total newsprint consumption in the Northeast. It is a commitment to achieving an average recycled content rate of 27 percent. The full Newspaper Publishers Agreement Task Force report, which describes the project background, is, available on the Northeast Recycling Council website (www.nerc.org).

Reprinted with permission from the Northeast Recycling Council.