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Recycling is a great way to reuse the paper fiber that the pulp and paper industry produces for a variety of products.

By recycling our paper, we can reduce the volume that flows into our state's landfills each year. In 1996 we recycled 555,000 tons of paper products (newspaper, office paper, scrap paper, and cardboard), but for every 100 dump trucks going to the landfill, 19 would have been full of paper products. Paper products, like other organic materials, produce methane gas and release other substances when decomposing in the landfill— these have the potential to create environmental problems.

Often recycling can save our industry in energy use— with newspaper, for example, a mill can save 20 to 35% on energy costs by using recycled newspaper instead of virgin wood chips. Also, when using recycled office paper in the pulp-making process, it reduces the amount of chemicals needed to make the fibers white again.

Since we're touring a pulp and paper mill that makes high quality paper products, here is a snapshot of our State's recycling efforts from 1996:

Office and Scrap Paper Recycling Profile

Oregonians generated 101,000 tons of office paper refuse, recycled 49,000 tons of it, and disposed of 52,000 tons of office paper through other means. 53 percent of the paper that was recycled was used by local pulp, paper, and tissue mills, while the remainder was mostly exported. Oregon pulp and paper mills Fort James Corp. in Halsey, West Linn Paper Company in West Linn, International Paper in Reedsport, and Weyerhaeuser in Springfield use about 146,000 tons of office paper each year.

Scrap paper is a term that describes a mixture of high and low grade paper types, including magazines, cardboard, envelopes, junk mail. It is a wide variety of types and colors of paper. Oregonians generate about 221,000 tons of scrap paper per year; the equivalent of 139 pounds per capita. 57,000 tons were recycled, or roughly 25 percent of the scrap paper generated. Local pulp and paper mills used 25,800 tons of the scrap paper recycled, while the majority of the remainder exported out-of-state.

"This is only a snapshot of our recycling efforts, using 1996 as an example. For more information, visit the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on recycling."

Visit the DEQ Webpage