Paper recycling is full-loop process completed in 2-3 weeks

These familiar green-and-yellow recycling bins raise money for local nonprofit organizations. Image courtesy Abibow Recycling

Drop-off paper recycling benefits churches, schools, other nonprofits

You may have noticed the bright green and yellow paper recycling bins (Paper Retriever bins) that are around town. They are typically located in the parking lot of a church, school, park, or other nonprofit and are used as a fund raiser for the sponsoring organization. The bins are seven cubic yards and hold one to two tons of paper when full. As paper is collected, the sponsoring organization earns monthly revenue – a higher monthly tonnage results in higher revenue per ton paid.

Although many local curbside recycling programs allow for collection of all types of paper along with other recyclables, there are advantages to dropping your paper off at a Paper Retriever bin to be recycled. Not only does it provide revenue to a nonprofit organization, it is also not contaminated from glass and other contaminants that can get into the paper when it is consolidated with other recyclables.

So what happens to the paper once it is placed in the Paper Retriever bins? The bins are owned by Abibow Recycling LLC, a division of Resolute Forest Products. Denise Piotrowski is the operations manager for Northeast Ohio for Abibow Recycling. According to Ms. Piotrowski, the company picks up the paper and ships it to a company-owned pulp and paper mill.

The paper is received at the mill and washed with soapy water to remove contaminants such as glue, ink, plastic film and staples. The washed paper is then mixed with water to create "slurry." The slurry is placed in a roller and sent through a dryer, then cut into rolls of paper to be used for newsprint. The newsprint returns to Northeast Ohio in two to three weeks of being picked up from the recycling container. Ms. Piotrowski added that Abibow is one of the largest manufacturers of recycled newsprint in North America.

Any cardboard is handled separately and sent to manufacturers that make the cardboard into new cardboard boxes.

What Goes in the Paper Retriever Bins?

The bins accept: Newspapers, inserts, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, office or school papers (including window envelopes and staples), soft cover/paperback books, phone books and workbooks. Shredded paper should be bagged (plastic is OK), but poke a small hole in the bag and push the air out. This way more volume of paper can be placed in the bin.

What Does NOT Go in the Paper Retriever Bins?

The bins do NOT accept: Cardboard food boxes, Kleenex boxes, fiberboard, chipboard, hardcover books, textbooks, wax-covered paper, construction paper, wrapping or tissue paper, carbon paper or sticky notes.

What About Cardboard?

Corrugated cardboard is accepted at some locations. Cardboard should only be put in a bin if the sign says that cardboard is accepted. The reason for this is that cardboard is lighter and takes up more space than paper. The more weight in the bin the more money the organization will make. Some organizations only have room for one or two bins and choose not to take cardboard to maximize their revenues.

There are Paper Retriever bins located throughout the area. To locate the one closest to you, go to the website and click on “Find a Recycling Bin.”

Brenda OReilly

Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:24 AM, 02.18.2014