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Mid America Paper Recycling

By AICC Staff

January 30, 2023


Recycling Health Improves Revenues

Mid America Paper Recycling, Chicago, one of the largest full-service independent brokers, processors, and exporters of recovered paper materials, partners with leading paperboard converters and AICC members to increase their knowledge of the recycling processes. Our Waste Audit quality initiative tracks and increases the value of recycling waste streams generated by our supplier partners and serves as a way to measure a plant’s recycling “health.”

The comprehensive Waste Audit helps divert waste, avoid expensive Dumpster fees, provide direct in-plant training initiatives, and more to generate a significant profit for our customers.

Our audit also helps us proactively educate clients on paper/fiber-recycling methods that lessen the use of natural resources, increase corporate and personal development in the plants, and reduce their indirect costs.

Responses to our Waste Audit Survey reveal that many companies don’t have a formal recycling program in place: 50% don’t sort their waste or segregate key materials, 17% don’t have equipment to help them recycle, 38% put loose waste in gaylords or tubs without baling it, and 33% put their trash in a Dumpster and pay waste haulers to pick it up. Additionally, 9% document the company’s recycling objectives and 50% said no one leads the recycling logistics within their facility. Mid America Paper Recycling uses these responses and others to determine what their operations are dealing with, what’s working and what’s not.

None of this data is surprising. People in the companies we work with don’t think about how they can become better at recycling. They are trying to sell and manufacture their products and services; that’s why we design their recycling programs and help implement them. What is critical is their admission of wanting to improve.

We present a baseline for action plans and design solutions that align with their specific recycling objectives. We find options to grow revenue or decrease costs from their waste stream. Our suppliers see this as a great benefit.

Those completing the Waste Audit Survey receive a score associated with a taxonomy (classification) level of their recycling effectiveness. Mid America Paper Recycling reviews the survey and their score and discusses what they can do to improve their recycling operations.

Many companies are pleased to be provided an objective score and actual report to the survey. They have told us that many competitors claim they have a formal “audit,” but it is more of an excuse for them to get in to see their facility and start talking about taking over the service of their recycling. Those we work with appreciate that from the start, we are educating them on the best practices of recycling and offering suggestions on how they can improve. It is only after they receive the report that we schedule an on-site visit to their plant.

In addition to issuing shipping reports to their accounting department, Mid America Paper Recycling reports to the operations team, providing continuous improvement methods on how to best manage and streamline waste generation, which can be a significant revenue contributor.

This data-driven focus on effective recycling practices turns thousands of tons of pre-consumer, high-grade recyclable paper, production trim, and paperboard waste into products that have significant value that can be monetized to maximize returns. Consequently, everyone in the company expands their knowledge about the importance of recycling. We meet with these businesses each quarter, reviewing their recycling goals and objectives to increase the worth of their waste year after year.

We have relationships with mills and converters around the country, which gives us unique insight into sourcing strategies and the tools to grow “value streams.” Reducing environmental impact is what Mid America Paper Recycling has been doing for over 95 years.

Take our free Waste Audit Survey, and find out how we can help you generate more value from your waste stream and become more educated on the best practices of recycling.

A 25-year veteran of the printing industry, Paul Pirkle has reaffirmed Mid America Paper Recycling’s strategic focus on continuous improvement principles and established partnerships with many large printing and packaging companies to turn their waste streams into growing value streams.


Paul Pirkle