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Residential Mixed Paper Collaborative

This collaborative will explore the recovery and utilization of residential mixed paper (RMP). Through facilitated discussions with diverse stakeholder groups, we will cultivate a shared understanding of the challenges with residential mixed paper recovery -- and brainstorm potential solutions for the recovery of mixed paper packaging. 

SPC Team Leads
Shea Wales
Tom Pollock
Co-Chair
Megan Robison: Printpack

The Challenge

According to a recent study in the United States, approximately 40% of the curbside recycling is made up of mixed paper. While many components in this stream are recyclable, mixed paper still often ends up incinerated or in the landfill. With demand for fiber-based packaging expected to increase, this presents a potentially missed opportunity to utilize a valuable resource. 

Gaining an understanding of “why RMP is not better utilized” is one of the first questions this collaborative will examine. RMP is a broad category with a number of definitions and bale specifications. Likewise, the world has changed around e-commerce, import bans, and covid-19. Having a closer look at what the real challenges are - including definitions and market trends - will lead the initial stages of our discussions.  

Approach

The Residential Mixed Paper Collaborative will bring a broad range of stakeholders together to discuss their perspectives around challenges and potential solutions. This means giving everyone a seat at the table including MRFs, converters, brands and retailers, manufacturers, waste haulers, and more to discuss key questions:

• What are the opportunities for better utilization of RMP?
• What are the opportunities for better recovery of RMP?
• What are the main drivers influencing end markets - or lack of - for RMP?
• How might we cultivate a shared understanding across supply chain actors to move forward more effectively?
• What are the actions we can take collaboratively to better recover and utilize RMP?

Goals & Scope of Work

Our first goal in the collaborative will be to work with our co-chairs and collaborative members to identify the right questions to ask and the right stakeholders that need to be involved. Gaining a shared understanding of the challenges - and potentially misperceptions - around RMP will serve as the foundation to these questions.

The second step, having identified questions and stakeholders, is to organize a series of roundtable discussions. These discussions will take place once per month. Key outcomes will be captured and shared with collaborative members before the next monthly discussion. After approximately three roundtables, we will review key outcomes and take one of three steps:
1) identify topics for future roundtable discussions,
2) make plans to work together on a shared deliverable, or
3) develop a lessons learned document and conclude the collaborative.

These discussions will happen once per month starting in June or July of 2021 depending on scheduling and availability of members. The primary scope is mixed paper recovery and utilization in North America, however global markets and influencers will need to be part of the discussion.

Photo by JJ Ying

Contact Us

Are you a current SPC member who wants to join the Collaborative?
Email tom.pollock@greenblue.org