Tissue360 - Spring/Summer 2014 - (Page 16)

feature | RECYCLED FIBER Are We Running Out of Recycled Fiber? As recovery rates approach the ceiling, near-future global fiber shortages could develop KEN PATRICK The tissue industry in North America is a major consumer of recovered fiber, especially printing and writing papers, mainly for the away-from-home market. However, certain technologies such as Voith's ATMOS are designed to produce higher quality tissue and toweling using recycled fiber for both the at-home as well as the away-from-home market, potentially increasing the demand for recovered paper from an already dwindling graphic papers sector. Coupled with the fact that wastepaper recovery rates in all grade sectors are beginning to peak out around the world, the tissue industry, together with the pulp and paper industry as a whole, could be facing a severe recovered fiber shortfall in the not too distant future. Currently, wastepaper recovery rates in North America are creeping up near 70 percent, Europe is approaching 75 percent, and Japan is nudging 80 percent, already bumping against the ceiling of what can be efficiently and effectively recovered. And with recovered fiber demand still rising, a shortage of recycled fiber of all types, not just printing and writing papers, could be looming on the horizon. The U.S., one of the world's largest exporters of recovered fiber with nearly half of its annual recycled paper stream (40 percentplus) currently being exported, and some 70 percent of that going to one country- China, is especially vulnerable to global fiber dynamics where demand is growing faster than supply. The hypothetical fiber recovery ceiling differs by country and region, depending on a series of conditions. In the U.S. there is general consensus that the ceiling is, on the average, around 80 percent, though specific grades can vary above or below that. Old corrugated container (OCC) recovery in the U.S., for example, has already exceeded 90 percent, according to Recovered paper collection rates, 1995-2025. Source: Pöyry. 16 Tissue360º SPRING/SUMMER 2014 some figures. In Japan with its large urban populations, some see the overall ceiling at 90 percent-plus, while the European ceiling is generally believed to be around 85 percent. Concerns about a recovered fiber shortage are amplified by the fact that more than half of the world's paper and board is now being made with recycled fiber. In the U.S., that figure is near 45 percent, and rising. At the same time, the growth rate of global fiber recovery has slowed in recent years as major fiber recovering countries push up nearer the ceiling. Currently, global paper recovery (according to Pöyry data) is at 223 million metric tons (collection rate of 56 percent) and by 2025 is projected to rise only five or six more percentage points to 308 million metric tons (61-62 percent collection rate), reflecting a slowdown in the rate of recovery. Although these figures all point to a nervous tightening of recovered fiber supply in the face of increasing demand, the situation is more complex than that. Especially complicating the situation is the series of stubborn, offand-on economic slowdowns that continue to plague many countries around the world. Also a factor that has to be considered in the recycling "merry-go-round" is the fact that recycling does wear fiber out. The life span of pulp fiber is typically about five recycles, then fines begin to increase and quality (drainage, strength, yield, etc.) declines. To help unravel these complexities and get a clearer view of the recycled fiber dilemma, Tissue360° recently met with three experts in the recovered fiber arena: Kathy Kneer, principal, Pöyry Management Consulting North America; Bill Moore, president, Moore & Associates; and Johnny Gold, SVP, Recycled Fibers Division, Newark Recovery and Recycling, part of Newark Recycled Paperboard Solutions, and a member of the Recycled Paperboard Technical Association www.tappi.org http://www.tappi.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tissue360 - Spring/Summer 2014

Automatic Handling International, Inc.
Goldenrod Corp.
Cascade Corporation
Tissue Industry News
Spraying Systems Co
Success in New Hampshire: Gorham P&T Optimizes New Tissue Machine Production to Premium Quality
OpTest Equipment. Inc.
Are We Running Out of Recycled Fiber?
Heuchling Group
Improve the Effectiveness of Your Steam Showers
M Torres
Mechadyne Machine, Inc
Myron L Company

Tissue360 - Spring/Summer 2014