Mid America Paper Recycling — Waste Into Wealth 1v1

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How we grow the worth of your waste. pg.14



Welcome to the Waste Into Wealth Newsletter! Without question, global environmental and trade policies are affecting the recycling industry. Decisions made halfway across the globe are impacting paper and corrugated recovery firms, paper mills and, of course, industrial recyclers. But the good news is, China is stepping back a bit from banning all scrap imports by 2020, according to a recent report from Adina Renee Adler, Senior Director for International Relations at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington. Adler reported in Recycling Today that in a second revision released this past summer, the Chinese government has “stepped back” from banning all scrap imports with a provision that states it “shall gradually and basically realize zero import of solid waste.” Adler says the emphasis should be on the phrase, “gradually and basically.” Still, a recent ISRI update on China’s scrap import regulations says the new proposal indicates that China’s demand for manufacturing inputs, including from recycling, “remains strong.” Good to hear, but obviously, the U.S. recycling industry will have a rough road ahead. As ISRI President Robin Weiner remarked during a September Recycling Caucus briefing in Washington, “If there is no end market to utilize the recyclable materials collected, they will not move, regardless of the volume of

(BIR) estimates that more than 40 percent of manufacturers’ raw material needs around the world are met through the recycling of obsolete, off-spec and end-of-life products and materials. We’ve known it all along. So Mid America Paper Recycling is taking steps to communicate more about our efforts, document our ideas and expand our communications reach, and we’re making progress on all these fronts, starting with our new website and social media engagement.

material collected. And collection without consumption is not recycling.” Some 70 percent of the volume of material recycled in the U.S. comes from commercial and industrial sectors, Weiner reported, and that material tends to be cleaner and can be processed to higher grades with greater marketability. Such materials must be consumed, repurposed and converted into new products. At Mid America, we continue finding market demand for these materials every day. After all, materials recycling is critical to the U.S. economy. According to Weiner’s caucus briefing, a key advantage of recycling in the U.S. is its importance as an economic engine and job creator. “The recycling industry directly employs more than 164,000 Americans in jobs averaging $73,000 in wages and benefits annually, while generating $110 billion in economic activity and $13 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue,” she said. We at Mid America Paper Recycling have been proving these newsbytes for years. The Bureau of International Recycling

Waste into Wealth is published quarterly by Mid America Paper Recycling info@midamericapaper.com Phone: 773-890-5454 Don Gaines, CEO: dgaines@midamericapaper.com Paul Pirkle, President: ppirkle@midamericapaper.com Tom Surdyk, Executive VP: tsurdyk@midamericapaper.com Lindsey Villanueva, Office Manager: lvillanueva@midamericapaper.com

That’s why I’m especially pleased to unveil more good news: the inaugural issue of Mid America Paper Recycling’s newsletter, “Waste Into Wealth.” Our new publication will feature articles detailing industry and company updates, supply chain news, technology advancements, personnel profiles, trends, equipment and more, including more details about our focus on continuous improvement and our new Waste Audit. Change is a constant in most industries, but we are especially in the business of change, transforming the old into new. We’re passionate about it and can’t wait to show you how we’re generating more value for our strategic partners. So, take a read, see what’s new and find out why Mid America Paper Recycling is at the forefront of post-industrial paper recycling! Sincerely,


Paul Pirkle President of Mid America Paper Recycling AICC member

Paper: Neenah Classic Crest — 100 lb. text, 90% recyclable, FSC Certified Press: J Press Print: 4C with INX ink Recycling Worth: Ask Paul Follow us on LinkedIN for updated material and conversations linkedin.com/company/mid-america-paper-recycling


Waste Into Wealth Magazine


We formed as the Advance Waste company in Chicago, with a mission to proactively educate, serve, and present a clear pathway for fiber recycling. We lessen the use of natural resources, increase corporate and personal growth, reduce costs and promote safety.


sq. ft.

Current square feet of our facility

150 Company Owned trailers.

Where we offer material marketing, transportation program management, both domestically and internationally, baling and equipment sales and leasing, financing and training.

We also offer trailer drop programs.


We’re one of the country’s largest privately held recycling companies.

a g c i r lin e m cyc A d r Re rs i M e e b p Pa um N in


We’re your coordinator to third-party logistics partners.

10 Minutes (or less) it takes for customers to fill out our free, online Waste Audit Survey. Easy to use, the survey is comprehensive in scope. Customers can also launch it on their smartphones via a QR code and take the survey immediately.

First-of-its-kind Quality Audit Initiative for the paperboard industry is focused on tracking and increasing the value of the recycling waste streams generated by large commercial printers and paperboard converters.

5, 000, 000 The amount of product tonnage the folding carton industry shipped in 2018.

50 The number of generations that built Mid America Paper Recycling

We recycle more than 50 grades of paper, from mixed materials, hard and soft paper to fiber cores computer and unprinted, misprinted and printed bleached board to printed bleached plate stock and other high-grade substrates.

h t l a he ng with li c y c e R in n o ti c ra T g Gainin ve ti ia it In ty li a u Q r e v E ts Fir


id America Paper Recycling, one of the largest independent brokers, processors and exporters of recovered paper in the Central United States, is offering something no other recycling leader currently provides, and the media is noticing. In business for nearly 90 years, the Chicago-based firm partners with its paper/paperboard producer customers to help them reach their sustainability goals. But recently, the company developed a first-of-first-kind quality initiative focused on tracking and increasing the value of the pre-consumer recycling waste streams generated by large commercial printers and paperboard converters.


Track and increase the value of the pre-consumer recycling waste streams.

“We call it growing the financial worth of their waste,” explains Mid America’s President Paul Pirkle. The continuous improvement program proactively educates and presents a fiber recycling method that lessens the use of natural resources, increases corporate and personal development, reduces costs and promotes safety. The secret to meeting both sustainability goals and revenue targets, the initiative is applicable to all types of paper and paperboard operations that recycle waste paper. “Our program also builds a score carding process that effectively benchmarks, monitors and upgrades a paperboard pro-

Waste Into Wealth Magazine

ducer’s recycling operations continuously,” Pirkle explains. “It enables us to best meet the customers’ needs in an accurate, comprehensive manner that helps them identify where the waste is generated, establish key collection procedures and set objectives that will continually to improve their waste stream’s revenue contribution to the business.” And there is plenty of pre-consumer waste. The folding carton industry, for example, shipped about 5 million tons of product last year, and that’s just one segment of the paper industry, Pirkle points out. “One manufacturing operation in a containerboard plant can generate thousands of tons of pre-consumer, high-grade recyclable paper, production trim waste and paperboard waste annually, which in turn, can generate significant revenues for the company.” “In the transactional, spot-buying business of paper recycling, the new initiative is something nobody else is doing in the industry,” he emphasizes. “No other company has offered as comprehensive and a value-added solution. We understand the challenges and shortcomings companies face in dealing with recycling vendors, equipment, labor and transportation issues. Recyclable materials can be wasted, which doesn’t meet anyone’s environmental goals or boost revenue. But such materials can also be a significant value-added contributor to the recycler’s profitability if professional managed, which is where we come in.”

Our comprehensive process audits all the following areas: Information about your company

Organizational Goals


Waste Volumes

Equipment/ labor

Assessing ‘recycling health’ via survey Based on an in-depth voice of customer study Mid America Paper Recycling conducted in late 2018, the innovative recycling management program concept was created to better understand the challenges the company’s customers face. Acting as a way to measure a customer’s “recycling health,” the audit incorporates a set of steps that are rigorously followed to divert waste, avoid expensive dumpster fees, direct important in-plant training initiatives and more to generate a significant profit for an organization. “Continuous improvement is so important to organizations today in many other areas of their operations, so we designed this audit to bring the same strategic process to their current waste handling practices and build a smart program around them,” Pirkle notes. The first step in the continuous improvement initiative is a new, free Waste Audit Survey, which is easy to take online in only 10 minutes but is in-depth in scope. Customers can also launch it on their smartphones via a QR code and take the survey immediately. Never having been to the potential customer’s facility, Mid America’s team can quickly determine from survey responses what an operation is dealing with, how the customer captures and recycles waste materials, what’s working and what’s not.

Financial goals



Continuous improvement



Recycling Health Survey Results “We also regularly track the customer’s

Organizational Goals

progress in terms of revenues and


environmental impacts. We find


every angle out there to minimize


waste, maximize returns and support

Financial Goals

customers while tracking their progress


regarding the environmental aspects.”

Continuous Improvement Safety Gross Score

The survey questions also address such areas including: • current operating procedures; • organizational goals; • frequency of recycling reports issued, reviewed and updated;

• waste volumes; • how customers train staff to maintain

We give you a grade, and more importantly, solutions.

safety, logistics, handling and efficiencies; • revenues and financial goals; • level of service received; • equipment and labor involved; • continuous improvement objectives; and safety, preventative maintenance programs in place The results are associated with a point scale and then are averaged into five categories to achieve a scale percentage that determines the potential customer’s overall waste assessment grade. Mid America next sends them a report about the assessment and a plan tailored to improving their recycling processes to increase revenue growth. Mid America’s teams then proceed with follow-up conversations, conduct onsite visits, mill assessments to match the best one to each paper grade and quarterly reviews on flow reports, rates, payments, recycling values, logistics and more.

Join the Survey conversations on LinkedIN.


“We also regularly track the customer’s progress in terms of revenues and environmental impacts, and the data is fed throughout the customer’s operation through regular management reports,” says Pirkle. “We find every angle out there to minimize waste, maximize returns and support customers while tracking their progress regarding the environmental aspects.”

The word is out News about the quality initiative quickly began spreading. After debuting on Mid America’s website and in a press release on Sept. 19, Recyclingtoday.com covered the development the very same day, as did other recycling and packaging publications, e-newsletters and social media sites. More “copy” on the program soon followed. Opportunities to help new client partners with waste stream audits are already flowing into the company though the Mid America Paper Recycling website, and meetings with potential customers are being scheduled, Pirkle says. “The survey gives us a more strategic, overarching approach to take with potential customers. Making the survey available online and through the QR code takes us one step closer to working with that company by simply having a different conversation with them. We are encouraged that our message to educate, serve and present a clear pathway for fiber recycling is getting attention. This is only the start of something great.”

To learn more about the initiative, visit www.midamericapaper.com and to take the Waste Audit Survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/MAPRAudit.

Waste Into Wealth Magazine

One delicious lunch could ruin the day of a paper recycler.

Paper mills need clean and well-sorted waste paper to produce a product that meets their standards. That means you’ll make more money from your recycling by handling and sorting it more effectively. Start the process by taking the Waste Audit Survey. With our help, you’ll soon be seeing improved results worth celebrating. Perhaps with a delicious lunch.

Continue the conversation online by following us on LinkedIN. linkedin.com/company/mid-america-paper-recycling Or sign-up for the e-newsletter by visiting us at midamericapaper.com

Positive experiences with Alan Surdyk Plant Manager

A +


lan Surdyk, plant manager, prides himself on going above and beyond for the Mid America Paper Recycling operation and for customers.

Alan ensures that the Chicago-based recycling plant efficiently processes tons of wastepaper and separates it into 51 different grades and glean the maximum possible value from the loads. The insights he has gained over his 16 years at Mid America are used by client partners to great effect. “At Mid America, we don’t just tell our client partners how to capture more value from waste, we perfect the process ourselves,” Alan says.

Waste Into Wealth Magazine

I have only had two jobs in my entire life,” he recalls. “My first job at 16 was as a day camp counselor for preschoolers. After that, I jumped into recycling and haven’t looked back. I began a summer job working at MAPR in 1998. I have been a paper shredder, a forklift operator, a paper sorter and a salesperson before moving into my current position as plant manager. If things were different and I had another career, it might be in earth science or space because I love reading about that subject.” What would he do for a living if he was born 100 years ago? “I’d probably work at something having to do with horses. I spent a lot of my childhood riding horses and rode every day for 10 years.” A member of the Mid America family that has owned the independent brokerage, processor and exporter of recovered paper for four generations, Alan manages a team of 22 employees and is on the front lines with them every day. He’s charged with running several operations, ensuring that high-speed sorting, baling, cutting and compacting systems are operational and organizing load logistics and coordinating shipping and receiving among other things. “I’m also a full-time solutions provider,” he says with a smile. “Many of the guys in the plant have worked here as long or longer than I have. It’s a grinding job that requires long hours, so you really have to want to be out here and want to be hungry for success.” While it’s a dirty, gritty livelihood, the plant crew finds plenty of ways to keep motivated, Alan explains. Part of that motivation comes from finding and adopting new ways to simplify the materials processing tasks for the wastepaper that enters and exits the plant. Another crew motivator is Alan himself. “I try to stay positive. My attitude can directly affect our production,” he says. “The people in the plant will feed off me. If we don’t have a positive team atmosphere, we will not get the results we are looking for.” Thus, Alan never waivers on Mid America’s zero-waste initiatives and excellent service goals. “We understand the challenges customers face because we deal with them firsthand,” he points out. “I’m glad to work with such great people at the company. Having good employees is crucial to our

success. We are constantly working on building the perfect team and will always go the extra mile for everyone that MAPR encounters, from the customers to the truck drivers to our own teams. We make sure they have a positive experience. If they don’t, we will certainly make it right.” Busy as it is, the recycling business is always changing, which encourages the plant team to continue learning new things and improving production processes. “One of the industry’s latest challenges is dealing with China and its measures to reduce garbage waste and improve its pollution problem,” Alan mentions. “China is no longer buying the tonnage it bought for many years. So, we have to continue finding new outlets for these waste materials by working with more companies and more people.” It’s those new ideas and innovations that separate Mid America from the pack. “We are successful at finding ways to handle materials that others might steer away from,” he says. “The best part of my job is seeing positive results from our hard work and reaching new highs in production. And having a happy team on the plant floor buy into what we’re trying to accomplish and believing in MAPR is a nice thing. I’m also proud that my colleagues reach out to me with questions or when they need help.” Alan is equally proud of the positive feedback and comments the plant receives from mill buyers and guests who visit the facility. “But being in recycling, we have to remember we are doing great things for our planet. Remembering can get lost in the shuffle, yet our industry plays a big part in making the planet safer and cleaner, little by little. It’s gratifying to play a part in successfully operating one of the largest private recycling facilities in third-largest city in the country.”

Our industry plays a big part in making the planet safer and cleaner, little by little.

MAPR Team Profile Alan Surdyk Plant Manager 16 years at MAPR Manages team of 22 “I’m also a full-time solutions provider.” P: 773.890.5454 x21 asurdyk@midamericapaper.com

midamericapaper.com Follow us on LinkedIN



Upcoming Recycling EVENTS — 2020

MARCH 15-18, 2020 SERC 2020, SOUTHEAST RECYCLING CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, Miramar Beach (Destin), Fla. Trade Show: March 15-17. The 33rd show from organizer Southern Waste Information Exchange provides the recycling industry with solutions, valuable contacts and productive networking opportunities. southernwasteinformationexchange.com

Follow us on LinkedIN for the latest happenings

FEB. 17 - 19, 2020 PLASTICS RECYCLING CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, hosted by Resource Recycling, Inc., the 2020 conference will offer presentations, panel discussions and Q&As featuring leading industry executives, reclaimers and associations. The exhibit hall is expected to include more than 225 booths. plasticsrecycling.com FEBRUARY 19 - 21, 2020 CONTRACT PACKAGING ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL MEETING, El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort, Tucson, Ariz. Exhibitions, panel discussions, networking events and presentations, with automation and e-commerce tracks in the afternoon. ontractpackaging.org


FEB. 23-26, 2020 WASTE 360 GLOBAL WASTE MANAGEMENT SYMPOSIUM Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa Indian Wells, Calif., Featuring critical content and research from industry experts in landfill management, waste collection & system management, researchers, trade organizations, solid waste generators, waste service companies, vendors/suppliers, government agencies, the Environmental Research and Education Foundation and more. wastesymposium.com/en/why-attend.html

MARCH 2- 5, 2020 IMAGING NETWORK GROUP (ING) ANNUAL NETWORKING FORUM Delray Beach Marriott in Delray Beach, Fla. Conference will bring print and electronic service providers together, along with some of the biggest name vendor partners to interface into a vibrant network of industry creativity, experience, and information. 123formbuilder.com/form-2653651/2018ing-forum APRIL 1-3, 2020 AICC 2020 SPRING MEETING & 7TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENTS’ CUP CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, San Diego, Calif. Featuring a three-day series of general sessions, the meeting will also feature workshops, networking, and social events and the popular Sales Managers’ Forum. omnihotels.com/hotels/san-diegola-costa/meetings/aicc-spring-2020meetings-03282020 MAY 13-15, 2020 AICC MEXICO 2020 ANNUAL MEETING & TRADE SHOW, Monterrey, Mexico. The 18th meeting is expected to draw hundreds of members, suppliers and guests for a production seminar/ meeting, trade fair and other activities. Additional details are coming soon. aiccmx.com

Waste Into Wealth Magazine

Vendor Focus

future movement now Moving the Logistics Needle With C.H Robinson’s Transportation Management System Mid America Paper Recycling is exploring new avenues in supply chain logistics with the help of a sophisticated transportation management platform from C.H. Robinson, designed to streamline shipping services, flow and other performance factors in real- time.


anaging most supply chains is about how we bring visibility to what’s happening with the movement of our goods. And despite the ups and downs of the ever-changing recycling market, Mid America Paper Recycling, Chicago, knows that dealing with the logistics in moving pre-consumer recyclable wastepaper plays an integral role in maximizing its value and boosting revenue. Equipped with its own trucking fleet of 150 trailers, the family owned company transports tons of high-grade paper, production trim, corrugated and containerboard each week, and partners with preferred third-party freight and logistics companies that understand the need for exceptional service that’s also cost effective.

“Logistics is the heart of our business,” says Mid America’s President, Paul Pirkle. “Our suppliers require us to impeccably service them. That means we need to be able to pick up and deliver on time. But this is challenging if we don’t have a good logistics partner.” Like most brokers involved in the current freight environment and the tight trucking market, Mid America has experienced challenges, which can sometimes drive even the most effective logistics programs off the beaten path. To face the mounting supply chain pressures headon, Mid America recently began exploring new avenues in logistics and transport management systems (TMS) with the help of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. Based in

Eden Prairie, Minn., C.H. Robinson is considered one of the country’s largest, most sophisticated multimodal transportation service third-party logistic providers. Examining costs and technologies over the past year, the two companies collaborated on a customizable TMS incorporating C.H. Robinson’s proprietary Navisphere® 2.0 global technology platform that will further automate Mid America’s operations in terms of scheduling and tracking shipments. Using Navisphere’s activity dashboard, the Mid America team will be able to gain insights into daily operations and improve shipping efficiencies of inbound and outbound loads and manage cost effectiveness in real time. Access to such data will provide more agility, accuracy and decision-making enhancements to keep Mid America’s team of customer service representatives a step ahead of the competition. The full-service TMS platform will help manage processes ranging from setting up orders and collecting shipping data to creating necessary paperwork such as bill of ladings and packing slips, notes Brendan McTigue, Director of Commercial Development at C.H. Robinson. “The system’s track-and-trace capabilities can be per-

Equipped with the business intelligence to organize everything in one place, the self-service Navisphere is an easy-touse web-driven tool that gives the CSRs access to a centralized network of more than 100,000 supply chain partners. The CSRs can view or modify data and perform quickly over large data sets and complex supply chains without the need to integrate with each provider individually. All the supply chain information the CSRs need is housed in a centralized location, so the reps can intuitively better manage logistics spend and leverage competitive reporting solutions. “With Navisphere 2.0, we can learn about a prospective recycling supplier’s business before meeting with them, Pirkle says. “This will allow us to effectively maximize revenue contributions and differentiate our offerings from a position of knowledge. We are currently testing C.H. Robinson’s processes to what we’ve used in the past and training the team on scheduling loads. We’re also testing the dashboard information’s effectiveness. From here, we will create key performance indicators (KPIs) for our business with C.H. Robinson and how we will service our suppliers.”

We will be able to piggyback their expertise and knowledge of the trends and challenges facing logistics companies. Before, only working with spot loads and various carriers, we were not able to track trends. We were only working toward a rate, not a logistics proficiency that creates better experiences for our team and our customers. Loads must be picked up and delivered on time; it’s a top priority. Being able to scorecard these metrics in real time holistically, by vendor or customer, we will be able to identify opportunities and make recommendations to improve.”

Disruptive times The transportation business is experiencing a seismic shift in terms of digital transformation and disruption. Recycled materials brokers like Mid America that used to manage their own transport needs must now rethink their options, from adopting emerging technologies to automating fleet and carrier strategies. Forming additional strategic partnerships with paper packaging firms, material recovery facilities (MRF)s and recycling plants to ensure continuous movement of material loads and high market values, Mid America has been moving the needle in the recycling space throughout the Central United States using its robust, continuous improvement process. Flexibility and agility are crucial. Thus, its procedures and strategies will continue to evolve. “The speed of change has never been faster in the transportation industry,” McTigue affirms. “Our contract carriers are adopting new technologies that allow customers like Mid America to get near real-time visibility on where their products are at a moment’s notice and create solutions to mitigate transportation issues before they occur. Talking to Paul, I get excited about the opportunity to turn transportation into a competitive advantage for Mid America.”

formed in real time using the dashboards, which gives visibility on transportation performance to vendors and customers. We will support Mid America with our own account team, which will provide any help needed to improve spend and overall supply chain performance.” “That means less down time, faster speed to market and better maneuverability,” Pirkle adds. “In the past, we didn’t have a way to see how shipments were progressing. With the Navisphere 2.0 dashboard, we have that transparency, which will be a great help. C.H. Robinson also takes the time to understand areas where we can improve.” midamericapaper.com

Navisphere can also help streamline quoting, load entry and POD [point of delivery] retrieval. “Our reporting suite, Navisphere Insight, will also give Mid America visibility into cost and service metrics, and they will be able to pull all types of data sets around transportation,” McTigue continues. “They will be able to drill down to the vendor or customer level.”

Pirkle says Navisphere 2.0 will streamline Mid America’s access to business-critical data and help reduce freight rates without the need to check and recheck order status and inventory levels. “Already, our response times have improved,” he says. “Our CSRs are responding well to the improvements and will have more time to focus on customer needs.”

Pirkle says as Mid America grows, it needs a TMS that can grow with it, expediting tracking functions and checking shipping costs. “We needed a system from a company with superior experience that could help us leverage that experience with carriers. C.H. Robinson is a 3PL leader.

Processing waste materials is more complex every day. But these upgrades will allow Mid America to exceed customer and supplier requirements more quickly and effectively. “If we learn what our customers and colleagues need up front, we’ll be that much more ahead,” Pirlke says. 13

Survey says… Find out what a few of the different classifications mean in Mid America’s new Waste Audit Survey assessment and where you go from there.


re you a Dynamo, Catalyst, Explorer, Novice or Fledgling when it comes to your company’s paper/ paperboard recycling procedures? Mid America Paper Recycling’s new Waste Audit Survey will help you find out. The quick, easy to use survey is the first stage of Mid America’s comprehensive, customized quality initiative, developed to improve pre-consumer paper/paperboard waste capture, and to transform waste streams into value streams. In this cyclical economic atmosphere, the program is more critical than ever to streamlining recycling collection procedures and tracking where waste is generated and distributed. Setting goals for recovering and recycling paper and paperboard materials scrap will continue to boost revenue to your business.


Suitable for companies ranging from small businesses to global Fortune 500 corporations, Mid America’s effective program begins with the survey, which Mid America can use to assess your answers and then create a custom program especially designed to benefit your operation.

The Waste Audit Survey is a great place to start enhancing the worth of your waste and saving valuable recyclable materials from landfills.

For example, according to a point scale achieved, if the survey results indicate your operation is a “Dynamo,” then congratulations — your recycling score ranks your company’s recycling efforts above 76 percent, indicating your firm takes recycling seriously as an important facet of its mission. Dynamos have well established best practices that are necessary to deliver sustainability goals to their stakeholders. Employees take recycling to heart, and most likely reinforce recycling strategies at their homes as well.

Waste Into Wealth Magazine

“Catalysts” are already achieving superiority along several fronts, though there is room for improvement. But the operation has the right mindset when it comes to recycling paper scrap. Mid America says that Catalyst operations consider recycling an important facet of their business and have established the best practices. “Companies [in this category] are saving valuable materials from going to a landfill,” notes Paul Pirkle, President of Mid America Paper Recycling. “Loose corrugated, pallets, metals or plastics are examples of products often not recycled. But a Catalyst is already recycling these products and growing its revenues. This helps shrink its indirect costs. Diverting recyclables directly to a processor saves money, as each touch point reduces the revenue potential. Recyclers often sell this recovered material at a higher price because it is usually in a good condition that paper mills value.” And the mills are happy to get it. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), Washington, recovered paper is used at more than 75 percent of the paper mills across the U.S. because of the significant cost and energy savings inherent to recycling. It is also a valuable contributor to the U.S. trade balance in that in 2016, the U.S. exported recovered paper valued at over $3 billion to more than 75 countries. While a facility’s preliminary goals may include achieving 75 percent recycling effectiveness -- a great start -- Mid America works to bring a Catalyst’s operation even closer to Zero Waste – as close as possible. Catalysts may use material compactors to routinely remove trim and scrap from their facility and send it to a recycling processing plant. “We’re interested in seeing what is actually being placed in the compactor(s), so we can understand if those products could be recycled in a different way,” Pirkle notes. “If they can be, we help the operation determine the best way to manage packing and logistics of those commodities, such as baling. There will be chances to increase the worth of your waste by reclaiming materials from within your compactor and moving them to a mill-direct outlet.” Mid America can help Catalysts formalize a documentation program to educate their teams with a few easy steps. Factors such as safety and preventative maintenance, logistics, supplier service, equipment/ labor, financial goals, material volumes and the operation’s specific path down the continuous improvement road are other areas revealed in the survey report.


Recycling audit taxonomy

Dynamo 76%-100%

Catalyst 55% - 75%

Explorer 40% -54%

Novice 20% - 39%

Exploring the explorers, novices, fledglings Meanwhile, respondents categorized as “Explorers” are working on several initiatives and trying to determine what more they can do to improve their “recycling health.” Mid America recommends they start eliminating certain weaknesses and set more ambitious objectives. “Novices” only recently started recycling, but putting a plan into motion means that they’re on the right track. Several areas can be improved, and with Mid America’s help, Novices can set some clear objectives that will continuously cultivate their recycling influence throughout the company. Mid America will determine the logistics of where their paper waste is currently going and go from there. And Fledglings, the real beginners, are actually in an enviable position because processes can be created and good habits can be learned that will help them grow for years to come. Regardless of the category, survey participants are asked to review the report Mid America subsequently sends them to learn how their overall recycling efforts are assessed. “We then follow up with the operation to discuss the report and review how we can further assist their improvement efforts,” Pirkle explains. “We later meet regularly to discuss and execute their goals and objectives through processes that hold us all accountable. We end up creating an intracompany team that impacts our relationship with each other in a positive way as we follow the steps.” Value starts being realized when more scrap materials are baled, scaled and readied for the paper mill. Unnecessary costs and labor start to diminish. “The fewer processing steps involved, the more revenue increases,” Pirkle says. The Waste Audit Survey is a great place to start enhancing the worth of your waste and saving valuable recyclable materials from landfills. Find out more by scanning the QR Code or visiting www.surveymonkey.com/r/MAPRAudit


You can always join us on LinkedIN for the latest conversations and info.

0% - 19%

The secret to meeting both sustainability goals and revenue targets


Find more green in your waste paper.

Sustainability is an important goal. But profitability must be maintained, and changing paper fiber markets have proved challenging. The solution? Contact Mid America for a free waste audit. We will analyze your facilities, from generation to exit, and develop a plan that eliminates cost streams and maximizes value streams. Then we will help you execute that plan, utilizing proven processes based on the principles of continuous improvement.

Start your waste audit here. Scan the QR code to start growing the worth of your waste.





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