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Subject: Recycled paper

Recycled paper

From: Ellen McCrady <whenry>
Date: Saturday, June 30, 1990
Ann Swartzell asked the other day if I would comment in one of my
newsletters on GREENPEACE's editorial on the recycled paper chosen for
their magazine; also on the Swedish process for non-chlorine bleaching;
and the GREENPEACE paper guide.  I would be happy to say what I can. But
I have a problem: I don't take GREENPEACE, and neither does the BYU
Library, so I don't know which issue that stuff is in.  Can someone send
me a copy of the editorial, the item on Swedish bleaching, and the
guide?  In fact, if people would send me anything they want commented
on, I will oblige when I can.  If I don't know enough to say anything at
the time, I will keep the items until I do, and work them in when I can.

For the last couple of years I have been collecting information on
recycling like mad, trying to get the whole picture, but have found few
reliable sources of information on it.  Part of the problem is that most
sources of information are highly biased, and are only familiar with the
facts they are most closely connected with.  They know the public is
listening, and tend to exaggerate.  Lawmakers do not have a good idea of
the economic and practical aspects of recycling; environmentalists
believe they are on the side of the angels; and papermakers are
scrambling to do what the public and the law demand, all the while
claiming among themselves that it's unnecessary and impossible, and
making public statements about how eager they are to recycle.  (It's not
such a black-and-white case as I am making it out to be.  Since I rarely
get a chance to speak frankly about this, I tend to get carried away
when I do.)

There is a VERY BIG recycling industry, which is hostile to preservation
and influential in Congress.  Papermakers and others are afraid that
permanent paper will never decay no matter what you do to it (the fact
is, even newspapers do not decay in dumps even after 40 years; and
"permanent" paper is not indestructible, only different in the sense
that it does not contain the seeds of its own destruction).  There may
be other enemies out there.

The downside of recycling and recycling laws should not be glossed over,
or exaggerated either.  We need to learn the eventual effect of the laws
and the processes involved, and always keep them in mind.  In New York,
there is a law that limits the amount of first-class recycled fiber a
boxboard manufacturer can use.  Conceivably laws like this could result
in the good fiber sources (trimmings and unprinted and unused paper and
board) being sent to the dump and the bad fiber being used
preferentially.  Also:  no one is monitoring what happens in the
deinking process.  Some pretty powerful chemicals are used, and the mix
changes from year to year and from plant to plant.  I don't think they
are recycled.  Do they get spread on the ground with the sludge left
over from the deinking process?  I have heard that the sludge makes up
1/4 to 1/3 of what comes out of the deinking plant.  What is the effect
of this sludge?  Also:  It is very expensive to set up a deinking
facility, and very hard for mills to get permission to build such
facilities.  They are in a Catch 22 situation.  We could probably use an
approach to this multi-facetted problem something like they use to set
standards, so that everyone could put their heads together and get a
solution that would be ecologically and economically sound.  But that'll
never happen.

I have lots more to say on this but life is short and other
opportunities will arise for me to speak my mind.


                   Conservation DistList Instance 4:6
                  Distributed: Wednesday, July 4, 1990
                        Message Id: cdl-4-6-002
Received on Saturday, 30 June, 1990

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