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Changes in Paper Grades

Changes in Paper Grades

Changes in Paper Grades

Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) continually monitors recycling commodity markets and values and we want to share this important development with Florida’s recycling community.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry (ISRI) recently announced major changes to their paper grade specifications. As you know, ISRI is the go-to source for recycling commodity bale specifications. Their annual Scrap Specifications Circular is published every January and the bale specifications listed are used to ensure uniformity in the global recyclable commodities industry. In fact, your processing contract likely utilizes ISRI specs to determine revenue sharing.

The Paper Grade Changes

ISRI is retiring the following paper grades (the first two of which may affect your program):

  • #8 Special News, De-ink Quality – Consists of sorted, fresh newspapers, not sunburned, and other acceptable waste-paper-1024486_960_720papers. This grade is to be relatively free from magazines and contains not more than the normal percentage of rotogravure and colored sections.
  • #1 Residential Mixed Paper – Consists of a mixture of various qualities of paper not limited as to type of fiber content, normally generated from residential, multi-material collection programs.
  • Others: #6 Old Newspaper, #7 Regular News, #2 Soft Mixed Paper, #3 Hard Mixed Paper

ISRI is adding the following new paper grades:

  • Sorted Clean News (SCN) – Consists of sorted newspapers from source separated collection programs, converters, drop-off centers and paper drives containing the normal percentages of rotogravure, colored and coated sections. May contain inserts that would normally be included in the newspaper in the proper proportions. Grade must be free of excessive ink, brown grades {OCC, Kraft bags, Boxboard and Kraft carrier board} and non-paper material.
  • Sorted Residential Papers (SRP) – Consists of sorted newspapers, junk mail, magazines, printing and writing papers and other acceptable papers generated from residential programs (such as residential household and apartment collections and drop-off centers) sorted and processed at a recycling facility. Material should be free of containerboard & brown grades.
  • Mixed Paper (MP) – Consists of all paper and paperboard of various qualities not limited to the type of fiber content, sorted and processed at a recycling facility.

Recently the ISRI Board approved the new paper grades, which are effective immediately and will be included in the January 2017 Circular.

Impacts to Your Processing Contracts

If you are responsible for the processing of recyclables either through an operating contract or your own operation, your processing contract or material purchasing agreements likely utilize three paper grades to determine revenue sharing,

#1 Residential Mixed Paper, #8 De-Ink Quality News, and #11 Corrugated Containers. While there is no change to the

#11 Corrugated Containers, you may need to identify replacement paper grades for #8 News and #1 Residential Mixed Paper.
These changes appear to be the industry’s effort to align bale specifications to the modern single stream processing facility. KCI encourages you to understand that each contract and processing facility is unique and the changes to one contract might not be the correct course of action for every contract. The replacement grades chosen will likely depend on your current mix of materials and the sorting capabilities of your processor and system. If you would like more information about these changes or assistance as you work with your processor to find replacement paper grades, please contact KCI Consultant, Shane Barrett, at 813-971-8333 x18.


– Don Ross, Kessler Consulting, Inc.

Kessler Consulting, Inc. - KCI