U.S. to give up bulk mail on paper recycling by 2021
By DANIEL LEHMAN Editor-in-ChiefThe United States is about to give in to pressure to scrap paper recycling and will abandon bulk mail as an electronic recycling option, the National Recycling Council said in a report Wednesday.
The council, an industry group that represents companies that recycle, recycles and recyclizes paper, said it would be dropping its demand for paper products that can be recycled into electronic forms.
“Our hope is that this will lead to the elimination of paper recycling,” said Kevin T. Tipton, the president and CEO of the council.
The shift to electronic recycling, which requires only the physical act of mailing or dropping a package, could save the government money, Tiptons said.
The report from the National Council on Recycled Paper and Paperboard, an advocacy group that supports the paper industry, says it would cost the government more than $6 billion to recycle about 7 million tons of paper by 2025.
But that could increase to more than 10 million tons by 2031 and eventually reach $15 billion in savings, the report said.
Tiptons, who was appointed to the council in April, said the group would take a more hands-off approach than other advocacy groups that have criticized the government’s approach.
He said the government should instead be investing in other priorities such as making public transit more efficient, as well as improving schools.
“If we can help the economy by encouraging recycling, that would be a win-win for all,” Tiptos said.
Some of the paper industries biggest customers are shipping and courier companies, which already pay the most for paper.
The paper industry has also argued that electronic recycling would make the nation more competitive in the global marketplace.
In the last decade, more than 80 percent of paper products are exported to countries like China, India and the European Union, where prices are often cheaper.