PSI hosts second annual Specifications Summit

PSI hosts second annual Specifications Summit

Attendees voted on proposed changes to ISRI paper stock specifications.

February 24, 2016

The Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, hosted its second annual Specifications Summit from Feb. 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans. The event provided a forum for packers, brokers and consumers of recovered paper stock to discuss proposed changes to the paper stock specifications published by ISRI.

Sandy Rosen, PSI president and CEO of Great Lakes Recycling, Roseville, Michigan, told attendees of the event that the paper stock specifications had been “long ignored and needed some attention.”

However, he added that the Specifications Summit and PSI were not just about specifications but were intended to be a forum for stakeholders in the industry.

Rosen said that paper stock quality has declined because of changes in the industry, bringing value down for the entire supply chain. “That is a trend that can be reversed,” he added. “Better quality material should be more valuable. If people can make a better quality package, they can get more money for it.”

Rosen said the PSI Specifications Committee was tasked with documenting the realities of the market rather than “what it ought to be” in determining revisions to the specifications.

He added that PSI wanted to bring transparency to the specifications process and he encouraged participation from throughout the industry. “We don’t want to force unwanted language on the industry,” Rosen said.

Myles Cohen, vice president of PSI and president of Pratt Recycling, Conyers, Georgia, said the PSI Specifications Committee engaged in a “good spirited debate” regarding the specifications. “But we have reached consensus.”

He reiterated Rosen’s call for transparency and also urged those in the paper stock industry to get involved in PSI.

Kari Talvola of FibreTrade, Burlingame, California, chairs the PSI Specifications Committee, which includes Johnny Gold of Gold Group Recycling Consultants LLC, Swampscott, Massachusetts; Keith Ristau of Far West Recycling, Portland, Oregon; and Shawn State of Pratt Recycling.

Talvola introduced the proposed changes at the Specifications Summit, which included deleting ONP (old newspapers) grades No. 6, 7 and 8 as well as deleting mixed grades No. 1, 2 and 3.

The new grades proposed were:

  • Sorted Clean News (SCN) – Consists of sorted newspapers from source separated collection programs, converters, drop-off centers and paper drives containing the normal percentages of roto gravure, colored and coated sections. May contain inserts that would normally be included in the newspaper in the proper proportions. Grade must be free of excessive ink, brown grades and nonpaper material. (Some mills may require pack to be free of flexographic inks.) Prohibitive materials: ½ of 1 percent. Outthrows plus prohibitives may not exceed 1 percent. Other papers may not exceed 10 percent.
  • Sorted Residential Papers (SRP) – Consists of sorted newspapers, junk mail, magazines, printing and writing papers and other acceptable papers generated from residential programs (such as residential household and apartment collections and drop-off centers) sorted and processed at a recycling facility. Material should be free of containerboard and brown grades (OCC, kraft bags, boxboard and kraft carrier board). Prohibitive materials may not exceed 2 percent. (Wax/foil papers, other nonpaper material). Outthrows may not exceed 3 percent (corrugated, kraft bags/board, boxboard, poly-coated).
  • Mixed Paper (MP) – Consists of all paper and paperboard of various qualities not limited to the type of fiber content, sorted and processed at a recycling facility. Prohibitive materials may not exceed 2 percent. (Wax coated, foil papers, other nonpaper material.) Outthrows may not exceed 3 percent.
  • OCC grade B (OCCB) – Consists primarily of OCC and includes other brown grades of paper sorted from fiber collected typically but not limited to residential recycling programs. Includes domestic and offshore OCC (not limited as to percentage), grocery bags, boxboard cartons and other household papers. May contain up to 10 percent white or colored papers. Prohibitive materials may not exceed 1 percent. (Wax coated, foil papers, other nonpaper material.) Outthrows plus prohibitives may not exceed 5 percent.

The committee also proposed amending the OCC specification to add, “May contain a maximum of 30 percent offshore OCC,” as well as to provide examples of prohibitives: “Wax coated, foil papers, other nonpaper material.”

Talvola said she thought the proposed changes “represent what is actually being traded.”

The floor was then open to attendees, who voiced their support of or opposition to the changes, with many of the comments directed at the proposed changes affecting OCC, where the overwhelming message was that a new OCC grade would add confusion and that the market forces are working effectively.

Representatives for Pratt voiced their support for creating OCC grade B, however, saying it was time to establish a second grade and that high-offshore content bales are continually downgraded or rejected.

PSI has released the results of the Feb. 5 vote, in which the overwhelming majority (25:4) voted against adding OCC grade B.

Receiving favorable votes were the addition of the sorted clean news, sorted residential papers and mixed paper grades.

When it came to the deletions PSI proposed, the majority of voters rejected them.

PSI notes that its website will feature periodic updates regarding the next steps in the grade specification process.