U.S. Paper & Packaging Company Aims to Make Recycling a Success

By Paige Wills in Facts About The Paper Industry, How Paper Is Environmentally Friendly

International Paper Company, on the Sampit Riv...

Image via Wikipedia

          When most people think of paper and packaging plants, the first thing that comes to mind probably doesn’t have to do with recycling. However, one company is trying to change their image and help the environment.

          According to an article from Waste Management World’s Website titled “Recycling a Success for U.S. Paper & Packaging Company,” Xpedx, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based company will implement a national recycling program in association with its parent company, International Paper.
         The company has established goals to recycle 2400 tons of material in 2011 and reduce waste annually by 10 percent over the next three years. 

        According to the article,  Xpedx claims the Minneapolis division averaged 14 tons of recycled material each month in the fourth quarter of 2010 and has recycled over 119,000 pounds of recycled material since October 2010.
         Here is a direct quote from the article from Dan Connors, Xpedx’s Minneapolis Division Manager:
        “We’re seeing firsthand the sustainability benefits that come from these recycling opportunities.” He added, “Xpedx is reducing the amount of waste we’re sending to the local landfill, which plays a part in increasing its lifespan. We’ve also significantly reduced our expenses because of our smaller waste stream here in Minneapolis.”

          The company is also looking into helping customers recycle items such as pallets and plastics.

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Virtual Scrap Paper Replaces Actual Scrap Paper

By Paige Wills in Why Choose Paper?

Pencils and Scrap Paper

Image by Enokson via Flickr

         With school just around the corner, many parents and kids have hit the stores in search of new notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, and school supplies. However, with the advancement of new technology, pens and paper may no longer be “must-need” items for school.

            According to a Bloomberg.com article by Ken Stier titled “Kent Displays Pushes ‘E-Writers’ as Paper Replacements in Schools,” Boogie Boards, notebook-size plastic devices, may replace paper. In December 2010, John Hartzog, a test center administrator at Florida Gateway College, replaced pen and paper test stations with Kent Displays  38 Boogie Boards in an effort to cut costs.

            Boogie Boards can’t send or receive data. The devices only serve as virtual scrap paper. Students write on the device with a plastic stylus and their writing remains on the 5 by 7 inch screen until someone hits the refresh button.

            Another advantage to the Boogie Board is it is eco-friendly. It only uses one AAAA battery that can power 50,000 refreshes.

            I can see the device as being a nice alternative to scrap paper; however, I don’t think I would personally prefer it over actual paper. It is a nice piece of technology that would definitely help cut down on waste and is environmentally-friendly. It looks enjoyable to use as well; however, I do have some reservations about the device.

            When I use scrap paper to scribble notes or figure equations, sometimes I use an entire sheet or two of paper.  The screen seems relatively small and the only way to make more room is to erase what you have already written. I also like to reference back to my notes and would be reluctant to erase the whole board so I could do another equation. Sometimes I like to take notes and if I can’t figure a problem out, I will skip it and come back to it later. However, without paper, you would probably have to erase the work you already did on the problem so you could work on other problems.

            Which would you prefer while taking a test: scrap paper or virtual scrap paper?

            Here is a short YouTube video about the Boogie Board.

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The Transition from Paper to Electronic Savings Bonds

By Paige Wills in Why Choose Paper?

U.S. Savings Bond

Image by M. Kelley via Flickr

          Starting January 1, 2012, you will no longer be able to go into the bank and purchase a paper savings bond, according to a blog post by Ann Carrns titled “Goodbye, Paper Savings Bonds,” which can be found on the New York Times Blog, Bucks.

            You will still be able to buy electronic versions of savings bonds via the Bureau of Public Debt’s web-based purchasing system Treasury Direct. The Bureau of Public Debt has decided to get rid of paper bonds in order to save costs. According to the bureau, this move will save $70 million in taxpayer money over a five year time span.

            Many are afraid this move will infuriate the older population, who aren’t as technology savvy as younger generations. According to the article, users will have to create an account on the website in order to purchase a savings bond. Once it’s purchased, the bond will remain in an “online gift box” until the recipient is 18 and creates an online account. However, if the child’s parents have a Treasury Direct account, they can establish a linked custodial account in the child’s name to hold the bond. When the recipient turns 18, the joint account can be converted to a solo account.

            In the article, Mckayla Braden, a spokeswomen for the bureau, said the demand for savings bonds have been in decline. As you can see below, the amount of savings bonds purchased has significantly declined in the past 10 years.

  • 2001- approximately $6 billion in savings bonds were purchased
  • 2010 – approximately $2 billion in savings bonds were purchased
  • October 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011 – $1.2 billion in savings bonds were purchased

         Braden didn’t say how many bonds were purchased by older citizens; however, she did say, “In my experience, older people definitely bought bonds over-the-counter for children and grandchildren, and put it in their safety deposit boxes (Article).”

         On the other hand, some believe eliminating paper bonds will take away the hassle of having to keep track of the paper version. No more digging through drawers or wondering where you put the bond; instead, it will be available with the click of a mouse. 

         However, according to the article, one feature Treasury Direct offers is the option to print or download a gift certificate stating the amount of the bond and what occasion it was purchased for. So it technically doesn’t eliminate “paper” aspect altogether.

        This transition from paper bonds to electronic bonds will not affect current bonds that have already been purchased. These paper bonds can still be redeemed at the bank.

        My guess is although people will no longer be able to purchase paper bonds; they will instead print off the gift certificate and insert it in a card. Therefore, the cost of paper is simply getting put on the consumer instead of the organization. However, I do think it is a good idea to have an electronic version in addition to a paper certificate just in case it was to get lost; it will always be available online.

        This move will definitely alienate the older population and may cause them to stop buying bonds altogether because they don’t know how to use computers. This may hurt sales in the short term; however, only time will tell if the electronic version of the savings bond will catch on.

        What are your thoughts on the transition from paper to electronic savings bonds?

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Office Depot will offer Delivery Option of Recyclable Paper Bags instead of Cardboard to Reduce Waste

By Paige Wills in Facts About Deforestation, Facts About The Paper Industry, How Paper Is Environmentally Friendly, Why Choose Paper?

Office Depot’s “Green” store in Austin, Texas.

Image via Wikipedia

         Do you ever order office supplies online and receive a giant cardboard box that is over-sized and filled with more plastic bubbles than the actual content of the box? Most people wouldn’t consider office supply stores environmentally-conscious. However, Office Depot wants to change the negative image associated with office supply stores. It’s doing so with the roll-out of its GreenerOffice Delivery Program.

         Office Depot customers who receive deliveries will be given the option to receive their supplies in paper bags instead of cardboard boxes, according to an article from environmentalleader.com titled “Office Depot Aims to Save 20,000 Trees With Paper-Bag Roll Out.” The GreenerOffice Delivery Program aims to reduce 3.5 million pounds of waste.

            Customers will receive items in paper bags, which are made up of 40 percent post-consumer recycled content. The paper bags will be protected during shipment through the use of reusable plastic totes, which contain 60 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

             According to the article, in the first year, Office Depot plans to replace about five million cardboard boxes. The company aims to reduce 4.5 million pounds of cardboard with 0.9 million pounds of paper, thus saving approximately 20,000 trees, or 3.5 million pounds of wood-based resources.

“Office Depot’s material footprint from cardboard use is significant,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for Office Depot. “This program, championed very effectively by our Supply Chain team, delivers a triple win: our customers win because the paper bags are more convenient to open and recycle; Office Depot wins because we continue to enhance our environmental leadership; and the ecosystem benefits because fewer materials are needed, and less waste ends up in our landfills” (Article).

         As you can see, Office Depot is taking strides in the right direction. This program will help reduce deforestation by eliminating unnecessary waste. Hopefully other companies will follow in Office Depot’s footsteps.

         For more information, go to Office Depot’s website and watch this short video about the program.

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Hotel Guest Files Class-Action Lawsuit for Newspaper Charge

By Paige Wills in Facts About The Paper Industry, How Paper Is Environmentally Friendly, Why Choose Paper?

P icon with a newspaper

Image via Wikipedia

         Have you ever stayed at a hotel and found a newspaper outside of your door the next morning? Most would assume that it is a complimentary newspaper courtesy of the hotel. However, this wasn’t the case for one guest at a Hilton hotel in Santa Rosa, Calif., reports Henry K. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle, in his article titled “Hilton guest makes federal case out of 75 cent paper.” 

        Lee reports the guest filed a class-action law suit against the hotel chain after he received a 75 cent charge for the newspaper, which he said was a deceitful scheme that hurts the environment.

          According to the article, the guest said he was tricked into purchasing the newspaper because he found the newspaper lying outside of his door and assumed it was compliments of the hotel. However, he didn’t know he would be charged 75 cents for the paper because he said the hotel deliberately hid the charge because  it was written in “extremely small font which is difficult to notice or read” on the sleeve of his room card.

         The suit goes onto note that newspaper readership has drastically declined and that most guests aren’t reading the paper anyway. Here is a quote from the article.

“The wasted papers are an ‘offensive waste of precious resources and energy,” said the suit, which also said that ‘deforestation caused by paper production is a matter of concern and worry in this state, country and worldwide (San Francisco Chronicle).’”
          I agree that a newspaper lying outside of your door is misleading. Most people would assume that it is free. However, it seems this could be a faulty system. What if someone was walking down the hallway and picked up the newspaper in front of your door because they too thought it was free? You could be charged for a paper you didn’t receive.

          On the other hand, I disagree with the part of the lawsuit that states the hotels are hurting the environment by providing newspapers. Who is to say the hotel doesn’t recycle all unused newspapers? According to “Fun Facts About Paper Recycling” via  livestrong.com, newspaper consumption is falling but Waste Age Magazine reports that 70 percent of newspaper is recovered from recycling and that 28 percent of the fiber used to make newspaper comes from recycled newspapers.

         So next time you stay at a hotel and have a newspaper outside of your door, you may want to call the front desk or read the fine print to see if the newspaper is complimentary or if you would have to pay for it!

        What are your thoughts on this?



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