Recycling And Overall Trends

Recycling & Overall Trends

International Paper is the largest single user of wood fiber in the world. We rely on a healthy, ongoing supply of wood through the careful management practices of our wood suppliers, and we use fiber that has been recovered. In the United States, we recover, process, or facilitate the sale of more than 6 million tons of recovered fiber each year, making us one of the larger recyclers of paper in the country.

Our practice of recovering scrap trim from converting plants and recovering paper and paperboard from a large recycling network helps extend the life of the wood fiber and keep it out of the landfill, avoiding the corresponding GHGs emitted.

Recovery & Reuse Strategy

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.

International Paper’s Recycling Business Recognized by Staples for Sustainability

In 2013, our Industrial Packaging Group received recognition from office supply company Staples. Our Papers and Industrial Packaging businesses were part of the reason Staples was recently named to the Global 100 Sustainability Index, recognizing Staples as one of the most sustainable companies in the world.

International Paper’s Recycling business currently serves 111 of Staples’ retail locations and five retail distribution centers, collecting approximately 16,200 tons of recyclable goods each year.

“Thank you for helping Staples to have another successful year ... It is this type of leadership and the commitment by you and all your employees that we value and appreciate. I personally want to thank you and the team for all your efforts.” Bob Valair, Director, Energy & Environmental Management, Staples


Recycling & End of Product Life

Kwidzyn wins European Recycling Council Praise

International Paper’s Kwidzyn plant in Poland won commendation in the annual Confederation of European Paper Industry recycling awards hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels for its entry, “Seventh Heaven for Newspapers”— a project launched at over 60 schools in the Polish region of Pomerania that aims to educate and promote paper recycling among children. These educational efforts will ensure less waste goes to landfills and more fiber goes to produce new, fully recyclable and sustainable paper products. The program’s name arises from the fact that newspapers can be recycled between four and seven times. So far, 130,000 kilograms of wastepaper has been collected by International Paper Kwidzyn from the institutions in the project.