There’s no universal standard of what’s considered Post Consumer Waste, which means for example that Europe counts store returned magazines while the US does not, so paper with largely identical content appears vastly different.
Consumers and businesses, unaware of this, make choices with what they think the best result in mind, but end up buying paper that needs to be shipped from another continent away.
Recycled paper manufacturing as most practice it is highly inefficient, based on old paradigm methods, and has an unnecessary impact. Before recycled paper existed, it made sense to locate your factory near the raw material - trees - far from urban centers.
Now, in line with where people are, the majority of material bound for recycling is collected in those urban centers. It may be processed into liquid pulp fairly close by, but more often then not, it’s shipped very long distances to these legacy paper mills.
And when it arrives to those mills, the process of making paper at these facilities is much more laborious, the recycled material needing to be hand fed into the mix, at times gumming up the machinery, which wasn’t built to accept recycled material. Understandably, old style paper mills see it as inefficient and a bother.
FutureMark Paper is bucking the trend and has built itself around modern realities, with a purpose built factory, located 13 miles from the downtown center of Chicago, one of the top centers of magazine printing in the country. Its raw material is right there: the urban forest. From publishers to the public, it is able to largely locally source its material, to be used in equipment exactly suited for up to 100% recycled content publication grade paper (ie magazines, catalogs, etc) They are the only company in North America do this, at this. All other domestic producers are substantially lower recycled content, made the old way.
Many in the paper industry are keeping a close watch on FutureMark Paper to see if its forward thinking “urban forest” model is the way to go. Before other paper companies decide to take the plunge, investing in modern day recycled paper capacity, they need to know there’s a market for recycled publication paper. In order for large publishers like Hearst and others to switch their popular titles to paper with a high percentage of recycled fiber, we need more recycled production capacity. A bit of the chicken or the egg, don’t you think?
With FutureMark recently reaching the milestone of 1.5 billion pounds recycled, it’s clear there’s interest. Now as America Recycles Day has happened, it’s time for us as consumers to vote with our dollars, our words, and our actions to make it unmistakeable to publishers and the paper industry: We want it, done right!
The amount of paper recycled by FutureMark averages about 530 pounds for each person in Chicago. The company has reused enough waste paper to displace 2.48 million cubic yards of landfill space and save more than 12 million trees.