Recycling Is Critical for Environment and Business
Nov. 13, 2007 - America has the opportunity to significantly increase its recovery of recyclable materials, according to Pete Grogan, recycling market development manager for Weyerhaeuser Company, and nationally recognized authority on resource recycling.
Grogan estimates that Americans dispose of $3 billion worth of recoverable paper each year. "Tossing paper into a landfill is not a sustainable practice," said Grogan. "It depletes resources, wastes energy, and represents a missed opportunity to participate in the multi-million dollar recycling economic sector.
"America Recycles Day on November 15 is a timely reminder that recycling is good for the environment and good for the economy," said Grogan. "We've made progress, but we need to do better. Today the U.S. is recovering 53 percent of our paper and Japan is recovering 70 percent of its paper, for example.
"Weyerhaeuser and other companies are doing a great job of paper recycling but we need even more paper from you the public. Demand for recovered paper internationally is increasing at 10 million tons per year," Grogan says. Recovered paper and packaging are used by paper mills to manufacture new products, including office paper, packaging and shipping containers.
"We're missing a great opportunity. We estimate that there are between 30 and 35 million tons of paper in American being disposed of each year," says Grogan. "Only 55 percent of Americans living in single-family homes have residential recycling services and only 50% of them use the service. We need to do better.
"With committed residents, governments and companies, it's easy to make recycling work," he said.
Recycling is Critical for Environment and Business
- Recycling is good for the environment and good for the economy. Recycling saves energy, conserves natural resources and generates significant revenue and employment.
- We've made progress, but we need to do better. Today the U.S. is recovering 53 percent of our paper and Japan is recovering 70 percent of its paper. Demand for recovered paper continues to grow. This offers municipalities, businesses and all of us as citizens a great opportunity to participate in the multi-billion dollar recycling economic sector.
- Communities benefit from the significant economic and environmental value in recycling. With committed residents, governments and companies, it's easy to make recycling work.
Recycling is Good for the Environment
- Making new paper and packaging with recycled material rather than virgin fiber conserves natural resources (trees) and reduces solid waste, air pollution and greenhouse gasses by half according to the Duke University Paper Task Force
- We maximize the use of the forest resource. Paper can typically make approximately eight recycle trips.
- If Americans recycled all recyclable commodities, we would conserve four percent of the nation's current energy use. Source: Steel Can Recycling Institute
Recycling is Good for the Economy. These facts prove recycling's viability (figures below are for all materials, not just paper). Source: National Recycling Coalition — R.W. Beck study.
- More than 56,000 public and private sector facilities.
- More than a million direct jobs, 1.5 million indirect jobs.
- $236 billion in gross annual sales.
- $37 billion in annual payroll
- Industry represents nearly 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Business Focus: Material Value, Resource Value and Environment.
- Your morning paper and cereal box are made with recycled material — recovered paper and packaging are used by paper mills to remanufacture new products, including office paper, packaging and shipping containers. This saves energy and reduces pollution in the remanufacturing process.
- Weyerhaeuser recovers seven million tons per year. That's the equivalent of a line of tractor trailers from New York to California and back. The U.S. currently recovers 54 million tons per year. That's enough trucks to do a lap and a half around the equator.
We've Made Good Progress Recycling in the U.S., But There's More Work to be Done.
- Global demand for recovered paper is increasing by 10 million tons a year but U.S. supply is increasing at less than two million tons per year.
- Today more than 8,500 cities provide residential collections to their residents, representing more 55% of the single-family homes in America. We're missing nearly half the country's material and throwing billions of dollars into the landfill. While more than 75 percent of homes have curbside recycling service in such states as Minnesota, Washington and Oregon, some states have less than 30 percent.
- Many more municipalities should participate in the dynamic domestic and international recycling economy. Tossing paper into a landfill is not a sustainable practice. Americans dispose of $3 billion worth of recoverable paper each year. We're filling landfills with money! This depletes resources, wastes energy, and represents a missed opportunity to participate in the multi-billion dollar recycling economic sector.
- Recycling is important for local governments and citizens because it reduces costs and improves the environment.
- The benefit is billions of dollars and associated jobs in the processing and sale of recyclable commodities.
- The paper industry provides hundreds of millions of dollars to local governments in payment for recovered paper, saving those governments and their taxpayers millions in disposal fees.
- Weyerhaeuser has experience to share with states and municipalities to improve or establish their own recycling programs.
SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company