I was very disappointed to see that the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) was described as anti-single stream recycling in the October 2005 article titled “Single Stream Rising.” This is an inaccurate characterization of an industry actively promoting increased paper recovery.
To set the record straight, AF&PA is pro-paper recovery regardless of collection method, single stream, source separated, or drop off. The industry has one desired outcome — increased collection of high quality paper. Had the association been contacted prior to the publication of this article, we would have shared details about our work to encourage the continued improvement and implementation of cost-effective community recycling programs that maximize the amount of paper recovered and minimize contaminants.
The industry currently recovers nearly 50 percent of the paper consumed in the United States for recycling. While this is a significant accomplishment, we have once again raised the bar by setting a goal of 55 percent recovery by 2012. In order to reach that goal, the industry has implemented programs to increase paper recovery.
AF&PA has created a variety of partnership programs. Working with organizations, including Keep America Beautiful, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CarrAmerica and the National Recycling Coalition, we are providing resources and materials that raise visibility for paper recycling and the industry's 55 percent recovery goal. Additionally, we have created the AF&PA Recycling Awards program to recognize and encourage outstanding individual, business, community and school recycling programs.
Realizing the growing trend in single stream recycling, AF&PA, along with the Glass Packaging Institute, the American Plastics Council, and others are supporting the development of a single stream best practices manual by environmental organization Conservatree. The manual, which is expected to be released in 2006, will provide decision-makers at the community level with real-time examples of programs that are working effectively.
The single stream best practices manual will join the wealth of recycling resources and materials already available on the www.paperrecycles.org Web site. We invite readers to join the paper industry in its efforts to reach its 55 percent paper recovery goal by actively supporting and participating in community recycling programs.
Cathy Foley Ph.D.
Vice President, Paper Group
American Forest & Paper Association