The nations leading cellulose insulation manufacturers continue to find innovative ways to convert waste paper into energy-efficient insulation products. Cellulose insulation producers stay in tune with recycled paper trends, and with obvious interest in old newsprint (ONP) supplies. Recycled newsprint has been the staple cellulose insulation raw material for many years. At present, the cellulose insulation industry is not experiencing any shortages of ONP. However, many producers have products that utilize other types of recycled paper material and continue to research alternatives to the standard ONP products.
Although newspaper circulation has been declining over the past few years there is still tons of ONP and many other types of paper going into the waste stream. The fact is, there currently appears to be excess paper entering the waste stream in America that could be utilized as cellulose insulation. According to Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA) Executive Director Dan Lea’s calculations, its a staggering amount.
“Based on our calculations of the most recent statistics from the American Forest and Paper Association, approximately 1,126,330 pounds of paper become waste about every 10 minutes in the United States,” Lea said. “Recycled as cellulose insulation, that’s enough paper to insulate 220 energy efficient new homes every 10 minutes.”
Clearly there is excess paper, but producers realize not all of that is newsprint. According to Lea, CIMA members are also using recycled paper from other sources. One very popular alternative to ONP material is old corrugated containers (OCC.)
“As newspaper circulation has waned with the advent of the Internet age, corrugated container (commonly known as cardboard boxes) use has grown,” Lea said. “The more people shop online the greater the number of boxes used to ship those products end up in the recycled paper stream.”
Today, most cellulose insulation manufacturers can purchase as much OCC as they want. The majority continues to produce products with ONP since it remains readily available. But the industry continues to research and develop cellulose insulation from a variety of other waste papers.
CIMA President Chris Hoch, CEO of National Fiber, sums it up this way. “The good news for consumers: cellulose insulation provides the same energy efficiency advantages, and benefits the environment as a product produced with up to 85% post consumer recycled waste material, regardless of the type of paper used to produce it.”