ISRI 2014 Convention: Paper recyclers mull changes to specifications

PSI members discuss modifications to some paper stock grades in the ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular.

April 28, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Conferences & Events Paper

During a meeting of the Paper Stock Industries (PSI), a national chapter of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), held during the ISRI Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas April 6-10, members discussed changes in the paper stock grades being produced and whether they should be further examined in a formal vote.

Among the grades discussed were old newspaper (ONP), specifically the No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 grades, as members considered whether the definition of these grades should be changed or eliminated. 

PSI members also discussed the introduction of polycoated paper cups and a potential unique category for that material. Attendees at the session recognized that Starbucks has been testing the possibility of having its coffee cups collected for recycling. One PSI member noted that the Food Packaging Institute (FPI) recently released a study that reported a growing number of material recovery facilities (MRFs) are accepting packaging material that has come in contact with food products.

One attendee asked whether the cups could be mixed in with the PSI No. 52 grade, which is categorized as aseptic packaging and gable-top cartons that consist of liquid packaging board containers including empty, used, polyethylene- (PE-) coated, printed one-side aseptic and gable-top cartons containing no less than 70 percent bleached chemical fiber and may contain up to 6 percent aluminum foil and 24 percent PE film.

While the FPI report notes that more of this type of packaging is being collected, several attendees said there has been significant “push back” on this material from domestic mills and from inspection agencies, such as the CCIC (China Certification and Inspection Group). One PSI member said “polycoated cups and lid plastics are tough for paper mills.”

One topic that generated a significant amount of discussion was the quality differences between domestically generated old corrugated containers (OCC) and “Asian OCC,” or non-North-American produced OCC, which typically is made of shorter fibers, which results in greater fiber loss during the recycling process, and is not as sturdy.

The notion of differentiating between OCC that is generated at a grocer and is typically produced at a North American board mill and OCC that comes from a large retailer’s distribution center, which would more likely be generated in Asia, did create some debate as several attendees noted that there is enough of a difference between the two of them to warrant further discussion, with the possibility of clarifying in an upcoming circular.

However, several speakers said they were reluctant to put the differences between the two grades into an actual specification.

The ISRI 2014 Convention & Exposition was held April 6-10 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.