Jonathan Gold of The Newark Group, a manufacturer, converter and recycler of secondary fibers, appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy June 27, 2012. In addition to presenting hiscompany's views, Gold also represented the views of the Paper Recycling Coalition (PRC).
The Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee is considering legislation aimed at improving the collection and analysis of recycling material and data. Gold, senior vice president of The Newark Group’s Recovery and Recycling Division, spoke in support of the effort. He indicated the effort could lead to more verifiable information on true sustainability and to better solutions in the recycling process and recycled end products.
“As an industry, we now collect two-thirds of all paper available for recycling and have increased the recycling rate for paper by 81 percent over the past 20 years,” Gold said in his testimony. “Despite this, there is still an enormous amount of paper that is not being collected and there remains quite a bit of misinformation in the data that suggests that more of what is collected for recycling is actually used in the creation of new products. That’s where the need for better information enters.”
Regarding the practice of single-stream recycling, Gold remarked that recovered single-stream recyclables often contain materials that contaminate the usability of the paper. “The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) does the best job they can at the moment in reporting on the tonnage of collected recyclables, but information isn’t really available to them regarding how much of that tonnage is later diverted to landfills. Better information on this could impact future decisions regarding single vs. dual stream recycling while leading to better solutions to maximize sustainability and continue the kind of economic job growth that results from new product development of recycled materials,” Gold stated.
Addressing the House bill under consideration, Gold said that The Newark Group and PRC support the basic principles of the bill, but remain adamantly opposed to any government mandates on the private sector that might distort market outcomes and efficiencies. “Sound and verifiable data would focus EPA attention on the material that is actually recovered for reuse in manufacturing and that information would have the potential to lead to better understanding and improved outcomes,” said Gold. “That’s what we are seeking and that’s what will allow us and the industry to target our approaches for increasing collection and maximizing both productivity and sustainability.”