PaperAge Magazine

Recycling Unlined Paper Shipping Sacks Combined with Old Corrugated Containers

More than 1 million paper shipping sacks have been recycled through the AF&PA and PSSMA program.

paper shipping sacks Unlined paper shipping sacks are a virtually untapped market of high-quality recovered fiber that can fetch top-tier prices when sold with recovered OCC.

By George Storat, President, Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers' Association

Dec. 26, 2017 (Recycling Today) - Companies that manufacture and process food, grain, seed and other bulk dry goods go through a lot of packaging. Dry ingredients often are best shipped in multiwall paper shipping sacks. These bags are more efficient than many other packaging types because they conform to the dimensions of the shipped product and add minimal weight. The food industry alone uses 1.5 billion unlined, multiwall paper shipping sacks per year.

In 2016, the Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers Association (PSSMA), Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, announced that unlined paper shipping sacks used to package dry food ingredients, such as sugar, flour and spices, can now be recycled in the same stream as old corrugated containers (OCC). To encourage higher recovery rates and inform end users of the sacks' recyclability, a program — which includes a new recycling symbol — was launched in cooperation with the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Washington, in April of 2016. AF&PA plans to achieve a goal to exceed 70 percent paper recovery for recycling by 2020.

Since its launch, the program has added more than 1 million bags to the market bearing the new recycling emblem, and that number is rising. Unlined paper shipping sacks are a virtually untapped market of high-quality recovered fiber that can fetch top-tier prices when sold with recovered OCC. That's good for the paper industry; for the end-users, which get more revenue from the collection; and for the environment, because it diverts material from landfills.

Manufacturer benefits

Food manufacturers that receive and use ingredients on a large scale benefit from recycling packaging. The price per ton of recovered OCC reached a record-breaking high this year, so companies that recycle more corrugated material and unlined paper shipping sacks are not just saving big on hauling and landfilling costs, they also are making a profit by selling those recovered materials. And, increased recycling improves companies' sustainability profiles and reduces their environmental footprints.

Estimating the cost savings or revenue from recycling unlined food ingredient paper shipping sacks depends on several variables. Facilities evaluating the impact of recycling these sacks should, of course, discuss this with their paper recyclers once they develop an estimate of the number of sacks to be recycled. However, PSSMA has developed a Potential Recycling Savings Estimator that can help develop an initial estimate of savings or revenue. Manufacturers can input sack volumes, local landfill disposal costs and estimates of revenue and costs associated with recycling into a downloadable spreadsheet to get estimates of savings.

Ensure acceptance

To maximize recovery rates, the paper industry made it easy for manufacturers to begin recycling unlined food ingredient paper shipping sacks. The first step is to . . .

Go to the full story on Recycling Today's website: Recycling in the bag

SOURCE: Recycling Today (