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Boosting Recycling By Paper Recovery

By PauluR. Heyman


The U.S. Conference of Mayors Recycling At Work Campaign kicked off its fifth Fiber Recovery Study in Washington, D.C. February 9th, in an effort to improve the recycling rates. With funding from Recycling At Work campaign sponsors, the study hopes to boost recycling rates in large office buildings and document the improvements in rates with data collection.

Environmental Recycling, Inc. (ERI) teamed up with the Conference by transporting the waste paper to mills for recycling as well as compiling monthly recycling rates for one year. The Recycling At Work Campaign’s goal for the project is to develop model recycling programs in large, multi-tenant office buildings in cities across America. The Fiber Recovery Study’s data will help to document best practices and to identify challenges for recycling office paper in multi-tenant buildings. The study’s great success can be seen at the Carramerica Building, in Washington, a pilot site where recycling rates have grown by 217 percent in the first month of revitalizing its recycling program.

Currently, the demand for post-consumer (PC) content office products, such as copy paper, is higher than the supply of recycled materials needed to manufacture them, which is why virgin products are still cheaper than PC products. Office buildings are enormous consumers of the high-quality paper that retains value when recycled. Increasing the supply of recycled office paper to the paper mills will allow prices of PC products to fall and consumers to take advantage of them. Recycling waste paper not only saves natural resources, but also diverts tons of waste from landfills.

Participation in the program by Carramerica janitorial project manager, Fernando Ovalle, and the building manager, Jennifer Wood, will ensure new janitorial staff and new tenants are informed of the recycling program in the building. Awareness was raised as tenants enjoyed the “GIVE RECYCLING A SHOT” basketball game and expressed great enthusiasm to begin participating in the new recycling program.

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