EPA promotes increased paper recycling through partnership
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
is determined to work with the pulp and paper industry to maximize recovery
and recycling in America, says Maria Vickers, deputy director of the
EPA’s Office of Solid Waste (OSW).
“Paper recovery plays a prominent role under the EPA’s flagship program,
the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), has underscored that,” she
says. “(It) provides renewed urgency to EPA’s message of reducing, reusing
and recycling valuable materials habitually discarded by American industry
and the general public linking the importance of these activities to
energy conservation and greenhouse gas reductions. I am sure that this
is something that the public is becoming more and more educated about.”
Several years ago the OSW collaborated with the American Forest and Paper
Association (AF&PA) and other bodies to convene a national stakeholders
meeting on paper recycling, which led to the identification of a number
of issues and projects to increase overall paper recovery.
“We’d like to think that our work together over the years had a positive
impact on paper recycling in this country,” says Vickers.
The EPA is working on initiatives to help the AF&PA achieve its new
60 percent paper recovery goal for 2012.
One is the development of its paper recycling website.
“The website is intended to be a one-stop-shop for all things related
to paper recycling,” says Vickers. “We will have information for paper
mills, teachers, students, recycling coordinators, building managers,
environmental groups, public officials, and the general public. This
website will be beta-tested by AF&PA and others over the next few
weeks and should go on-line this summer.”
Another program is the partnership that is bringing together Georgia
Pacific, CB Richards Ellis, Inc. (CBRE) and Harmon Associates to promote
“CBRE is the world’s largest commercial office management company (and)
together with Georgia Pacific and Harmon,” says Vickers, “CBRE is planning
to implement new office recycling programs at 1,431 facilities in 43
states. Each facility will do a waste audit; develop and implement a
recycling plan; carry out regular monthly education; and measure and
report their progress.
“We anticipate great things from this partnership,” she adds, “and we
expect that the lessons we learn can be transferred to other building
owners and operators throughout the country.”
A third initiative has led to the development of the EPA’s Office Carbon
“This tool highlights the importance of paper recycling in an office
setting and links recycling to greenhouse gas reductions,” says Vickers.
“The calculator is available on the EPA website. It’s free and user friendly.”
She adds that bringing in more partners to work with EPA and AF&PA
is essential to increase recycling rates.
“At the national level, EPA promotes partnership programs under the Resource
Conservation Challenge,” says Vickers. “For example, the WasteWise Program,
now in its thirteenth year, has attracted over 1500 partners across the
country that are intent on reducing and recycling materials that would
otherwise be waste. These partners - from small and large businesses,
to communities, local and state governments, nonprofits and institutions
of all kinds – have discovered that recycling is not only good for the
environment, but it is also good for their bottom line.”