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Paper Recycling

​Recycling industry focuses on improved quality with latest changes to Paper Specifications

ISRI's Scrap Specifications Circular now includes zero tolerance guidelines

The paper recycling industry has been working diligently over the last several years to improve the quality of the recycling stream. Through a collaborative effort, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries' (ISRI) Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter and ISRI's Paper Division - whose members include recyclers, paper mills, MRF operators and other industry stakeholders -- are working to improve the quality of recycled material through a reduction in contamination. This effort recently included an update to the "Guidelines for Paper Stock" in ISRI's Scrap Specifications Circular that among other changes, clearly lists items that are considered "Prohibitive Materials" and should not be included in the recycling stream. In addition, for the first time, "Zero Tolerance" is also defined.

"The paper recycling industry, through ongoing work with municipalities and other stakeholders, has made it clear that contamination of the recycling stream is unacceptable," said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. "Instituting clearer guidelines of what is - and is not - acceptable is a strong step toward improving quality throughout the recycling stream. It is important that this movement forward continues in concert with public education, investments in infrastructure, better efforts to design consumer products with recycling in mind, and a commitment by all parties to continue to work together."

The Circular defines "Prohibitive Materials" as any materials which by their presence in a packing of paper stock, in excess of the amount allowed, will make the pack unusable as the grade specified; or any materials that may be damaging to equipment. 

"Zero Tolerance" is defined as any material that contains any amount of Medical, Organic, Food Waste, Hazardous, Poisonous, Radioactive or Toxic waste and other harmful substances or liquids.

Other changes to the "Guidelines for Paper Stock" include the integration of the Domestic Transactions and Export Transactions. This is intended to streamline and improve the trade of paper scrap commodities as changes take place in the global marketplace. In addition, moisture allowances on outbound shipments from processor to consumer were updated. The new "Guidelines for Paper Stock" can be found on page 26 of the Scrap Specifications Circular.

These changes were approved by the ISRI Board at the recommendation of ISRI's Paper Division during its Spring Meeting on April 16. ISRI's Scrap Specifications Circular provides industry guidelines for buying and selling a variety of processed scrap commodities, including ferrous, nonferrous, paper, plastics, electronics, rubber, and glass. More information about the rules governing the procedures from the addition, amendment, or withdrawal of ISRI's scrap specifications, can be found in the Scrap Specifications Circular

Company Info

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

    1615 L Street, NW, Suite 600
    Washington , DC
    US , 20036

    The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the Voice of the Recycling Industry. ISRI represents approximately 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 34 countries worldwide that process, broker and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, ISRI provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment, and sustainable development. Generating more than $105 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs.

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