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Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association

Cellulose Insulation Is Up To 85% Recycled Paper

CIMA Producers Support Recycling Programs

Paper in Landfill with esitmate of annual U.S. waste paper.
Cellulose Insulation, made from up to 85% recycled paper, has the highest percentage of recycled content among common building materials used in the United States. This emphasis on recycled material in the production of cellulose insulation products has many benefits. It also helps to reduce the millions of tons in waste paper going to landfills every year.

First, the amount of paper used annually in the U.S. is huge. According to the EPA, about 69 million tons of paper and paperboard are used every year. Paper accounts for some 25 percent of waste in landfills and 33 percent of municipal waste. The University of Southern Indiana estimates approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Diverting waste paper from trash streams and landfills is an important step in limiting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and global warming.

Turning recycled paper into insulation provides multiple environmental benefits. Unlike other products made from recycled paper, cellulose insulation is specifically intended to increase energy efficiency in homes and buildings. Thus, not only is the paper diverted from waste streams, it is trapped for years within attics and walls where it reduces demand for energy lowering the cost of monthly bills along with environmental impacts.

In addition, this paper trapped in homes and buildings creates natural carbon sinks. If all that paper used to make cellulose insulation went to landfills it would decompose releasing carbon into the atmosphere increasing the negative impacts of greenhouse gases on the environment. Producing insulation from waste paper also takes less energy than required to make fiberglass or foam insulation. This lower embodied energy in the manufacturing of cellulose insulation adds yet another positive environmental benefit for the product.

Many producer member companies of the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA) support local community programs that encourage paper recycling. These programs can be more efficient than commercial recycling where a percentage of paper typically still ends up in landfills. They also help to raise funds for a variety of organizations that raise money from collecting and selling recycled paper to producers. US Greenfiber and Mountain Fiber are a few companies that have very active programs.

Since China began limiting the amount of recycling they accept from the U.S. many local municipal recycling programs have been affected. In some cases local residents have seen limitations on recycling collections. CIMA producers are also helping on this front by offering free recycling locations. CIMA member Mason City Recycling provides their local market with a recycling option that has picked up the slack when other public and private recycling locations closed.

Click here to find CIMA producers that service your state to inquire about paper recycling opportunities and for qualified cellulose insulation contractor referrals.