2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference: Speculating over specifications

2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference: Speculating over specifications

ISRI's PSI Chapter introduced two new recovered paper grades for members' consideration.

November 2, 2015

While members of the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, introduced two new recovered paper grades at the 2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, hosted by the Recycling Today Media Group Oct. 14-16 in Chicago, PSI members must vote to adopt the changes on the changes in February 2016. 

In the session “PSI Paper Grades – Learn how Specifications may be Changing,” PSI officers updated attendees on the outcomes of the PSI Specifications Summit hosted in Dallas in February 2015. Nearly 150 people from more than 70 organizations participated in the summit, said Sandy Rosen, PSI president. After that meeting, Rosen said, committee members read through the numerous suggestions and ideas that were submitted throughout the event.

Johnny Gold, president of The Gold Group Recycling Consultants LLC, Massachusetts, told PSI members in attendance at the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference session that hearing from them is essential in deciding grade specifications. “We’ll keep taking feedback until we get this right … Only active member companies will be able to vote on adopting changes.”

The two new recovered paper grades introduced by PSI derive from single-stream material recovery facilities (MRFs): sorted clean news (SCN) and sorted residential paper (SRP).

SCN replaces No. 9 news, according to PSI, and is “paper going off the end of the line.”
PSI described SCN as: “Consists of unsold and sorted used 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.” Prohibited materials are not permitted and out-throws may not exceed 0 percent.

SRP is nearly the same as sorted mixed paper, however, brown grades are not removed from the mix. As PSI explained, the proposed grade  “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 (old corrugated containers [OCC], kraft bags, boxboard and kraft carrier board). Prohibited materials may not exceed 2 percent (including was and foil papers and other nonpaper materials) and out-throws may not exceed 3 percent (including corrugated, kraft bags/board, polycoated)."

PSI also introduced two new mixed grades: sorted mixed paper and sorted hard mix.
Sorted mix paper “consists of all paper and paperboard of various qualities not limited to the type of fiber content, as typically generated by residential programs (such as residential, household and apartment collections and drop-off centers) sorted and processed at a recycling facility,” PSI said. Prohibitive materials may not exceed 2 percent and out-throws may not exceed 3 percent.

Sorted hard mix consists of OCC, other brown grades and grocery bags, boxboard cartons and household papers. The mix will be sorted at MRFs and may contain up to 10 percent white or colored papers. Prohibitive materials may not exceed 1 percent with out-throws plus prohibitives not allowed to exceed 5 percent.

Kari Talvola of Burlingame, California-based Fibre Trade Inc., another speaker during the PSI specifications session at the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, clarified that these grades “are a guideline. This isn’t set in stone.” Talvola serves as PSI’s specifications committee chair.

ISRI’s board must approve specifications changes at a vote at the ISRI Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas, April 2-7, 2016. Prior to that meeting, the specifications will be reviewed at the ISRI Winter Board Meeting, scheduled for Jan. 20-22, 2016, in New York City, and then again at the Specifications Summit, Febr. 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans, where the changes will be voted on by the PSI membership, according to PSI.

ISRI Paper Division Chair Myles Cohen, president of Pratt Recycling, a subsidiary of Pratt Industries, Conyers Georgia, and a panelist in the specifications session, said people rely on PSI for specifications decisions. “Lots of people feel we are the go-to organization for standards and specifications,” Cohen said, adding “There’s a tremendous amount of data to back up the work [PSI members] have been doing.”

In addition to reviewing new paper grades, PSI members described a trial the group conducted of domestic OCC versus foreign OCC. The group encouraged attendees to try a similar trial as PSI found that domestic OCC “ran very consistently.”

PSI members said the group ran domestic OCC for 24 hours and foreign OCC for 24 hours. The results yielded a loss of fiber on foreign OCC that was 99 percent worse than domestic. Foreign OCC resulted in a 14 percent reduction in speed while fiber quality characteristics “ring crush” and “g-mean tensile” were out of spec, causing the trial to be abandoned after eight hours, PSI members said.

PSI President Rosen also honored industry veteran Pete Grogan with the Phil Alpert Memorial Award during the paper grades specifications session. Grogan, who had worked for Weyerhaeuser, Federal Way, Washington, for years, now serves as the manager of market development and innovation at International Paper, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference was at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Next year’s conference will be Oct. 19-21 at the same venue. More information will be available at www.RecyclingTodayEvents.com as it is confirmed.