Paper bags are a highly recyclable resource that is sought after for its fiber strength and is used in the manufacture of many products such as corrugated boxes, cereal boxes, wallboard, and new paper bags. Recycled paper bags are a valuable contributor to the U.S. trade balance, with a third of recovered paper exported. In support of paper bags as a recyclable and valuable resource, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) adopted the following.
It is the position of the ISRI that:
- Promotes a free and fair, competitive, market-based system for the trade of recyclable materials such as paper bags.
- Supports a competitive marketplace that does not restrict, direct, or interfere with the free flow of recyclable materials.
- Opposes bans and fees on paper that are being manufactured into useful commodity grade materials and sold into viable, commercial markets without subsidies or noncompetitive, fixed pricing.
- Promotes the proper recycling and economic opportunities associated with the collection, processing, and reuse in finished products such as paper bags.
- Encourages the addition of paper bags to curbside collection programs.
- Strongly supports the use of recycled content to the maximum percentage that is mechanically and commercially viable.
The position was developed in response to several high-profile municipalities either banning or placing fees on paper bags, which reduces the amount of paper bags recycled, thus negatively impacting the amount recovered. This position provides stakeholders, including governments, with valuable information on where ISRI stands on these issues.