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Paper Mills Open a Floodgate for New Products The world has changed for book and publications publishers as paper mills are becoming cornucopias of new products. The tight paper supply of two years ago has loosened significantly, and mills are now offering new grades and upgrading older ones. And from the number of paper mills beginning to produce product made with a minimum of 50% waste paper in the furnish, predictions that recycled paper will be the hottest issue facing the paper industry this year appear to be borne out. That the topic is a hot one was evident during the American Paper Association's "Paper Week" convention last month, where the words "recycling" and "waste paper" were on everyone's lips.
The industry's interest in recycling was highlighted in January, when API's president, Red Cavaney, told a House Subcommittee on Hazardous Materials and Transportation that U.S. paper manufacturers are greatly increasing their capacity to utilize waste paper as part of a "commmitment to maximize recycling to the fullest extent feasible." He pointed out that in 1988, 26 million tons of U.S. waste paper were collected for domestic use and export--approximately 30% of all paper and paperboard consumed in the U.S.; and that more than one of every three newspapers printed were recovered for recycling. Some 25% of the raw material for U.S. paper and paperboard mills is supplied by waste paper.
Yet not all mills are manufacturing recycled paper. Some are holding back because they are not certain of market demand; others feel that not enough is known about the technology of …