Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 9, Number 2
Jul 1996


Fletcher Paper Company has Made-to-Order Watermarks

Fletcher Paper, of Alpena, Michigan, is offering standard or custom watermarks on its premium printing papers and on custom designed grades. This is a response to requests for watermarked papers used in corporate identity systems, insurance policies and financial printing; also to combat counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry. The company has ISO 9001 certification (for quality management and operations), and it can make either acid or alkaline paper.

ISO Works on Migration Test for Archival Board

A novel test for chemical stability of board intended for use in archival boxes and other storage supplies is being worked out by the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee 46, Subcommittee 10, Working Group 1. The chair is Per Olof Bethge, in Bromma, Sweden. The board samples are aged in an oven for one week at 90°C and 50% RH, each in contact with a reference paper of pure cellulose. After one week, the reference paper is inspected for discoloration in the area that was in contact with the board, and its brightness is compared with the area that was not in contact. (This is something like the Photographic Activity Test described on p. 60 in the December 1995 issue of this newsletter.)

Samples are being invited from board producers, who must perform the aging. The deadline for receipt of tested samples is August 30. For more information contact Rolland Aubey at Nekoosa Papers, 715/887-5273.

EPA Publishes Revised Recycled Content Guidelines

In March of last year, the Environmental Protection Agency opened a period of public comment on the draft guidelines they had just published in the Federal Register (see p. 16 of the March issue of this newsletter). That period closed with the publication of Paper Products Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN), EPA 530-Z-96-005, May 1996, by the Environmental Protection Agency, Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5305W). The comments received during that period from paper manufacturers, merchants, and purchasers, and the decisions made or confirmed in response to those comments are reviewed in the RMAN.

One of the most contentious issues was whether the definition of postconsumer materials should be broadened to include over-issue publications, printers' over-runs and converting scrap. The arguments given for broadening it are described, and the reasons for not acting on them are given: "Commenters simply repeated past arguments without providing new information to justify expanding the postconsumer definition. …EPA continues to believe that its interpretation of RCRA section 6002 is reasonable."

The recommendations for postconsumer content in consumer (at-home) tissue products have been withdrawn, because of the persuasive arguments that the use of postconsumer and recovered fiber in consumer tissue products is driven by customer demand and mill economics and does not need additional stimulus from EPA; besides, the government does not buy this kind of tissue.

The only changes in the earlier recommended levels of recycled content for six widely used printing & writing papers were for cotton fiber paper and text & cover papers. For these two, the percent of recovered fiber has been lowered from 50% to 20%. Postconsumer content remains the same. This change was made possible when the President amended section 504 of Executive Order 12873 to lower the previous standard of 50% recovered materials to 20% for all printing and writing materials. (A description of all the changes made in the Executive Order is on p. 23 of the June Pulp & Paper.)

For more information, see the May/June 1996 Recycled Paper News, or contact the RCRA hotline at 800/424-9346 (703/412-9810 in the DC metropolitan area). For detailed information, call Dana Arnold, EPA's Office of Solid Waste, at 703/308-7279 (e-mail:

Disagreement on Prospect of Paperless Office

Imaging Supplies Monthly ($350/month from Giga Information Group in Norwell, MA) has a front-page article in its June issue, headed "Electronic Communication Erodes Longterm Prospect for Supplies Markets," which says very clearly that electronic mail and forms are displacing hard copy output. In general, it says, major segments of the U.S. supplies market are experiencing either a drop in units or flattening of growth. The use of fax paper, for instance, has not increased as much as their 1990 estimates predicted.

Although this same source, the Giga Information Group, is quoted in a Knight-Ridder article July 14 in the Austin American-Statesman, the headline states the opposite conclusion: "Faxes Hindering Progress Toward Paperless Office," by Karen Blond (p. D4). The article is filled with astounding statistics about how much paper is used annually in fax machines, how full the fax machines in offices get over the weekend, what percentage of their phone bill the big companies spend on faxes (41%, on average), and so on. Fax paper use in the U.S. seems to have grown rapidly, without slackening noticeably.

And then there is "The Wiring of America" a 4-page paper given by C. Gulker at the Publishing and Communications Paper Conference in San Francisco, 13-14 Sept. 1995 (Preprints available from Miller Freeman in San Francisco, 1995, $345; reprint of the paper is available from Pira, whose fax number is at the head of the Literature section. Tell Pira it was in Abstract #4082, in 1996). Although new technology has increased the demand for paper, the high cost of paper is encouraging more publishers to use electronic media, with the number of newspapers on the Internet increasing from 4 to nearly 300 in just over a year. Still, much of the world will be without access to electronic media for the foreseeable future, and paper will be widely used.

Simpson Paper Refocuses, Sells 2 Mills, Will Sell 3 More

Simpson Paper Co. will specialize in the future on coated and specialty papers, packaging, and market pulp, and will sell its text and cover business. All three of its mills with PCC plants will stay with the company. Two of its other alkaline mills (in Anderson, CA and Pasadena, TX) will also stay with the company; but two (in West Linn, OR and Plainwell, MI) will be sold off. Two acid mills were sold to Fox River in June: those in Ripon, CA and Vicksburg, MI, both small mills, about 100 tons per day.

Colorado May Allow Hemp Cultivation

There is--or was, in March--a bill in the state legislature in Colorado that would allow regulated cultivation of industrial hemp by Colorado farmers. It is called the Hemp Production Act (SB 96-67), and it would initially permit planting of no more than 40 acres of hemp. The American Farm Bureau Federation is one of many farm organizations that endorsed the bill.

California Decides not to Require Chlorine-Free Paper

A bill that would have required state agencies in California to purchase chlorine-free paper died in the state legislature on January 31. The bill (AB 826) was first introduced in January 1995.

New AF&PA Group Chairmen Chosen

The American Forest & Paper Association recently chose seven new chairmen for its specialty groups. F. Allen Byrd is the new chair of the Periodical Papers Section and Richard M. Smith is the new chair of the Printing-Writing Group.

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