Thursday, November 13, 2008

hang on while we all go down the tubes

The other day I was described as "harsh" by the blogger over at Dead Tree Edition.

But check out his or her (they are anonymous) recent post. I'll let him/her start to tell the story of what I figured would come home to roost sooner or later. But this bit first--for years municipal curbside recycling programs have been increasingly operating single stream (commingled) collection programs and they have not had a problem finding a market for the tangled mix of paper that most North American recycled pulp & paper mills would rather take a pass on. No problem, Asia, specifically China, wants our waste paper. China has been building paper mills like crazy in the last 10 years. This has worked out well...even though this situation is not part of some well-thought-out plan...most recycling programs don't realize this situation (high demand for recovered waste paper in China) was really just chance, luck, serendipity...stumbled upon. There were no egghead economists planning this out...the whole thing has been "hedge-fund" like -- and we all know how that works out WHEN THE RULES CHANGE!

So I'll let Dead Tree tell the story for now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sharing is Caring

This blog (on the same server I use) is an interesting read. By an anonymous blogger who wants to keep his day job in the printing or publishing industry.

I thought it would be a comparable parallel universe to the information I post here...especially as I decided a few years to discontinue engaging in the simpleton environmental debates such as recycling is actually a worse choice than using virgin fiber to produce paper.

The one thing I always acknowledge is that paper production is a complicated process, where one shoe does not fit-all. But the idea that the paper industry can be sustainable using timber to produce 100% of product is a dead-end.

And regarding the old saw put forward in this guy's blog post, that recycled fiber should be used specifically in one sector such as containerboard production. Tell that to containerboard and sack mills that have concerns about product integrity. The down-cycle whine is getting pretty old. Yes the recycled fibers become shorter. But there are only so many cardboard boxes all industry sectors gotta suck it up and absorb some of recovered output...including printing & writing, which is taking in about 6-8% right now in North America. It is done. It works. Some mills are doing it. More need to get involved and change the production paradigm...not 100%...but at least more than 6-8% of production.

Chlorine compound bleaching is used to separate lignin and brighten virgin kraft fiber production, and is not comparable to the bleaching (in many cases more benign) used for deinking.

And speaking of parallel universes, I assume according to this blog post, the Martians in Europe know how to separate waste paper so it is usable for paper production...something North Americans would never be able to comprehend.

I told myself I would never engage in these "debates" again. I have to find the 12-step program for this...I keep falling off the wagon.