Production and Paper Special Report: Cycling Through Your Options
Hoover says companies that tried recycled paper a decade ago and were not satisfied should reconsider. “Now it’s totally different; the quality is virtually identical to virgin paper,” she says.
The Cost of Being Green
The price of virgin and recycled paper fluctuates and can vary by region, so companies that comparison shop may be able to purchase 10 percent recycled paper at similar prices to virgin paper, while at other times paying a premium.
Steven Schiavone, who works in manufacturing and distribution for publisher Consumer Reports, says the company prints its magalogs—which make up the majority of the company’s 65 million annual mail pieces—on 10 percent recycled paper. He says the company routinely pays a 3 percent to 5 percent premium for recycled paper.
The cost of all paper has increased by nearly 40 percent in the past four years due to increasing demand, which limits the amount Consumer Reports can spend on recycled paper, according to Schiavone. “It’s really a balancing act, between the good you want to do [and] the cost,” he says. Companies can offset some of the extra cost of recycled materials by printing on lighter weight paper, Schiavone states.
Penny Machinski, an environmental engineer with West Linn Paper Co., says incorporating recycled paper adds “a few dollars more per hundred weight” to what the company charges. While that may not sound like much, for companies that buy tons of paper annually, it can add up quickly. Approximately 5 percent of the company’s sales include recycled content, according to Machinski.
A Sourcing Tip
Direct marketers often rely on their printers for assistance in selecting recycled papers; those looking for the widest variety of options may have to consider either working with printers that use numerous paper suppliers or researching the suppliers themselves. “The supply chain for direct marketing is more complicated since within an envelope package you may have five different suppliers [contributing components],” says Schiavone.