Meeting our 2020 goal to recover 15 percent more OCC requires robust planning and realignments in our recycling business. We began by establishing a baseline rate of recovery for this goal. Our initial results show a decrease in our recovery of OCC of approximately 18 percent after 2010. Competition and economic conditions can affect the volume that we recover. One example of this is if fewer goods are shipped in boxes, fewer boxes are available to recover, and vice versa. However, demand for fiber is expected to grow and create opportunities for economically viable projects and collaborations that will increase corrugated box recovery.
Our plan for meeting our 2020 recycling goal, developed in 2012, has three elements:
- Build -- We are working to expand our internal capacity to recover materials by building new facilities. We currently operate 18 recycling plants in the United States, two in Mexico, and three in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We are scouting economically viable locations for constructing new material recovery facilities, as well as looking for ways to increase capability at our existing plants.
- Collaborate -- Engaging suppliers will allow us to increase recovery rates beyond the capabilities of our own systems. We provide incentives to suppliers to encourage building or expanding material recovery facilities. For example, we work closely with an independent recycler in a large Midwestern U.S. city to facilitate extraction of previously unrecovered OCC from commercial waste. We are also actively seeking opportunities to work with solid-waste management companies to provide recovery at their landfills and transfer stations.
- Acquire -- We also seek to identify and acquire recovery facilities whose operations can be expanded to collect new sources of recovered fiber. These facilities may target small offices and retailers that do not currently collect OCC, allowing us to tap new sources of material and increase our recovered fiber volume.