Whether you’re a newcomer to paper recycling or an industry veteran there’s something for everyone at the 2022 Western Michigan University (WMU) Fiber Recycling Course. Provided by WMU’s Pilot Plants, the course will be held August 2-4 on WMU’s engineering campus in Kalamazoo, Mich. WMU’s paper, recycling, and coating pilot plants provide workforce and facility solutions for research, product development, and education.

In partnership with the Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry (TAPPI), the course is geared to anyone looking to broaden their knowledge of the entire fiber recycling process.

“We have really enjoyed putting on the Fiber Recycling Course here at WMU,” says Lon Pschigoda II, general manager – WMU Paper Pilot Plants. “The audience will include recyclers, brand owners, packaging producers, paper makers, and raw material suppliers – all playing an important role in the circular economy of fiber.”

“I look forward to advancing attendees’ knowledge of the industry specifications, paper/fiber recyclability, and specific legislation affecting the industry,” says Bret Biggers, ISRI’s senior economist. Biggers will serve as a speaker for two of the educational sessions: “ISRI—Grade Structure and Recyclable Material Characterization” and “Legislation and Regulations Driving Sustainability.”

Featuring industry experts and WMU faculty, the 2.5-day course will cover a full view of the fiber recycling circular economy from brand perspectives, sustainability drivers, recyclable certifications, legislation, collection, MRF operations, reprocessing, and papermaking.

“We walk through consumer behavior, legislation/regulation, collections, recyclability testing, compostability testing, and recycled paper production,” Pschigoda says. “Most people in the industry have a particular area of expertise and can benefit greatly from seeing the other perspectives. We see lots of great side conversations and ‘ah-ha’ moments in the audience.”

Learning objectives include:

  • Recyclability Protocols and Product Labeling
  • Recycled Fiber Global Markets Update
  • Sustainability – Brand Owner Perspective
  • Regulations and Market Drivers
  • Collection and MRF Operations
  • Paper Mill Operations
  • Hands-on Fiber Recycling/Papermaking Option

On the final day, Thursday, Aug. 4, WMU Pilot Plant will offer an optional session for anyone interested in getting hands on experience in fiber recycling and papermaking. During an afternoon with the crew of WMU’s Paper Pilot Plant, attendees will get to see fiber recycling operations (pulping, screening, and cleaning), papermaking on the newly installed dual fourdrinier pilot machine (the only one of its kind in North America), and time in WMU’s papermaking/paper testing labs.

The session will demonstrate the entire recycling process for a bale of recovered paper including recovery of the fibers and the production of recycled paper (forming, pressing, drying, and calendaring).

In addition to the educational sessions, the course will feature numerous networking opportunities including a networking dinner and brewery tour of Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo.

There will be free WMU shuttle service provided to the campus each day and to and from the networking dinner. The Radisson Plaza Hotel Kalamazoo Center will be the shuttle pickup and drop-off location. The Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites by Hilton are within walking distance of the shuttle service at the Radisson.

Find more details including registration for the course here.

Photos are Courtesy of Mark Busnaski.






Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah is a Writer & Editor for ISRI's Scrap News. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycling industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.