Starting last summer, staff at the Sonoco Recycling facility in Savannah took a hard look at its business operations, in terms of both cost and sustainability. Working together, the team realized that by diverting dry waste material from their normal waste streams and taking it to a waste-to-energy service provider every month, they could save money and lessen their environmental impact. Now, only wet or bulky waste goes in the Dumpster, and all other waste is converted to energy via hauling trips that are often combined with normal hauling operations to optimize freight cost and lessen the facility’s carbon footprint. “This process change is a first for a Sonoco Recycling location,” said Mike Pope, general manager and president, Sonoco Recycling. “The plant is doing a great job capturing a large amount of waste for recovery in waste-to-energy programming, and their improvements have positive implications for both sustainability and cost savings.”
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today announced that 65.4 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2014.
U.S. paper recovery rate statistics are available at www.paperrecycles.org/statistics.
“U.S. paper recovery’s ongoing success is possible thanks to the voluntary, market-driven product recovery system,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.
“Industry education programs and initiatives, and the millions of Americans who recycle every day help ensure continuously high paper recovery rates,” said AF&PA Board Chairman and Sappi North America President and CEO Mark Gardner.
The annual paper recovery rate has nearly doubled since 1990 and the industry has set a goal to exceed 70 percent paper recovery by 2020 as part of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative. Paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of the industry’s sustainability story.