Federal Management of Wastepaper Disposal

LCD-78-112: Published: Apr 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 6, 1978.

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General Services Administration officials estimated that about 170,000 tons of waste were generated annually in buildings they operate; about 85 percent of civilian agencies' waste is paper or paper products. Department of Defense officials estimated that from 42 percent to 75 percent of the 2 million tons of solid waste they generated was paper or paper products. Where specific wastepaper products have been abundant, Federal agencies have generally done a good job of collecting and selling this wastepaper. Government agencies and installations have also been generating revenue from general paper wastes that have remained after high-value paper wastes have been removed. However, the greatest majority of Government wastepaper is still treated as solid waste or trash and is incinerated or landfilled. Source separation programs established to separate high-grade paper from other wastes have been generally successful in getting higher grade paper out of the trash cycle and into the paper recycling industry. Two major obstacles to the viability of using Government wastepaper as insulation are the high density and dustiness of such paper and the current shortage of boric acid. Newsprint is the preferred source of paper for producing cellulose insulation; the characteristics of high-grade paper render it less appropriate for insulation than newspapers. Other uses for recycled wastepaper include high-temperature pipe insulation and producing heat from incineration.

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