Future May Look Better for Paper Exports

With additional capacity to utilize recovered paper and lower recovered paper participation rates in countries outside of Germany, Europe will have less recovered paper to export over the next two years, according to the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA).

In addition, several of China's containerboard and newsprint mills will be adding additional recovered paper capacity. Paper consumption in Asia should rise by almost five million tons over the next couple of years with China using over half this amount.

This makes the future seem a bit brighter for the US recovered paper export market. However, in the future, foreign demand may tighten the supply here and increase competition for recovered paper domestically. This may drive an emphasis on sorting or "high-grading."

According to AF&PA, when paper grades are mixed with glass, metal and plastic, contamination is certain to be an issue. High quality recovered paper will be the most desirable to mills and will bring the most revenue to businesses and communities. AF&PA is encouraging domestic recycling companies to sort mixed paper and market it locally.

Global demand for recovered paper is growing at the rate of five million tons per year. Worldwide utilization is at 140 million tons and is projected to increase to 165 million tons by 2005. Last year, Americans recovered 49.9 million tons of paper and paperboard, bringing the paper recovery rate to 48 percent in 2000. More than 36 percent of the fiber used to produce new paper products came from recovered paper. For more information, visit the AF&PA web site at www.afandpa.org/recycling.

Reprinted from the Association of Oregon Recyclers Newsletter, July 2001.

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