William F. Shughart II’s op-ed, “Recycling not as cheap as you think” [Opinion, Jan. 4], was disappointing.

His case that the cost of recycling inhibits producers from collecting recyclables rings hollow. In reality, the paper and packaging companies that are members of the American Forest & Paper Association bought more than 50 million tons of scrap paper in 2015 for use in new products such as boxes, cartons, tissue, writing paper and more.

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Paper recovery has fostered a dynamic marketplace that allows recovered fiber to find its highest-value end use. That, in turn, helps to encourage more recycling.

In 2014, 65 percent of the paper and paper-based packaging consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling. Our industry wouldn’t collect nearly two-thirds of paper products for recycling if there weren’t a viable market. The market will vary based on supply, demand and commodity. Taking the stance that recycling is too costly runs counter to the paper industry’s decades-long commitment to recovering fiber.

Marc Forman


Editor’s note: The writer is the president of GP Harmon Recycling, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific that trades in recycled fiber.