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