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Newspaper Publishers Recycled Content Commitments

In 1998 NERC brought together state recycling officials, representatives of the newsprint industry and newspaper publishers to spur investment in the facilities needed to make the recycling of millions of tons of old newspapers generated in the region an economic and technical reality. Through a combination of voluntary agreements and legislative mandates initiated by individual states and coordinated by NERC, a significant majority of newsprint publishers in the Northeast were expected to increase purchases of recycled fiber from current levels of about twenty percent to 40–50 percent by the year 2000. Substantial investment has been made by the newsprint industry to accommodate this new demand, resulting in significant growth in demand for old newspapers (ONP) and old magazines (OMG) generated in the Northeast. In 1995, NERC co-sponsored the Old Newspaper and Old Magazine Supply Study to document the availability of feedstock to fuel new capacity for producing recycled-content newsprint. The study was co-sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America, the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

NERC issued an annual report assessing the status of the laws and agreements. In 1997 NERC entered into a dialogue with publishers in the region to explore opportunities for updating the agreements, and with partial funding from the U.S. EPA established the Northeast Newspaper Recycling Task Force, made up of NERC members and some of the region's large publishers. Members of the Task Force funded a study of recycled newsprint manufacturing capacity, which informed the Task Force's Final Report and recommendations, published in January, 1999.

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.