Decline in recycled paper content of tissue?

Will recycled content of tissue products become paper-thin?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Declining graphic paper use may be beginning to affect the recycled content of tissue products.

Recovered paper industry members continue to report declining volumes of graphic papers (printing and writing papers, old magazines, etc.) due to growing supplanting of paper products by digital offerings, plus a slowing global economy. Meanwhile, some recycling industry analysts suggest we may be approaching the theoretical limit in so-called white paper collections in developed countries, including those in Europe and North America. At the same time, due to population increases, demand for tissue and toweling products continually rises.

With tissue and toweling being the main market for recovered white paper, the current situation where fiber supply is dropping but demand is rising is expected to lead to higher fiber prices, thus forcing tissue makers to boost the virgin-fiber content in some of their products. Pirkko Petaja of Poyry Management Consulting says this trend is unlikely to affect the away-from-home market, due to this sector’s lower quality standards. This is not the case, however, for at-home tissue products, says Petaja. She predicts the virgin content in tissue and toweling used in homes will have to rise due to the rising cost of recovered fiber.


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