Buying recovered paper always has been the "backwater" of purchasing, not to mention it frequently has been relegated to a close-knit group who are seen as being apart from the paper industry. However, this important fiber source has significant impact on many mills' bottom lines. With the emergence of e-commerce, selling recovered paper soon will jump into the new millennium and on to the Internet.
As the nimble and efficient business-to-business e-commerce world unfolds, it's clear that industrial sectors are gravitating toward purchasing materials online. Currently, at least seven companies offer or have stated their intention to offer e-commerce solutions for selling recovered paper, even if it may only be a part of their business. They are:
* Paper Exchange: www.paperexchange.com
* Fibermarket.com: www.fibermarket.com
* Paper Loop (Miller Freeman): www. paperloop.com
* TheFiberExchange.com: www.the fiberexchange.com
* Paper2paper: www.paper2paper.net
* E-cycled.com: www.e-cycled.com
* E-scrap: www.e-scrap.com
A number of the companies are operated like exchanges, others feature more informational content. And others almost can be termed as virtual outsource procurement providers. For all of these sites, the bottom line is that e-commerce provides an easier and wider exposure of buyers and sellers to each other.
Individual company sites, such as Waste Management Inc., Houston, www. wastemanagement.com, also are being used to sell recovered commodities. Three of the largest paper companies, International Paper in Purchase, N.Y., Weyerhaeuser in Tacoma, Wash., and Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta, have announced an e-commerce company of their own - Forest Express. Their intention is to use the site to buy recovered paper for their own use.
To date, the actual tonnage being transacted on the sites has been minimal because this still is an emerging business. For example, some of the operations, such as Paper Exchange, have a strong focus on finished product transactions, while others, such as Paper Loop, offer a great deal of information about the worldwide pulp and paper industry.
Fibermarket.com, Fiberexchange, E-Scrap, and E-cycled have dedicated much of their effort to trading recovered paper. Also, Fibermarket.com offers an extensive, full-range virtual procurement system.
In the future, it's anybody's guess what will happen. Will the typically sluggish recovered paper transactions move at the electron speed of the worldwide web?
The two important driving forces that will make this happen are the current high transaction costs and the lack of real-market pricing information. Both of these lead to very inefficient buying and selling.
My advice, at this time, is to try the sites. You might like them.