CLAWSON HOPES TO IMPORT PAPER-RECYCLE TECHNOLOGY

CLAWSON HOPES TO IMPORT PAPER-RECYCLE TECHNOLOGY

A long-term relationship between a U.S. company and a Japanese firm is paying off with a new technology to make recycled paper for use by magazines.

And now, New York-based Black Clawson Co., which began exporting paper- recycling technology to Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. in Tokyo 30 years ago, is trying to bring the new technology home to the United States."We've got lots and lots of copies of Japanese magazines that are (printed on paper) made of 80 percent post-consumer waste," Carl

Landegger, chairman and owner of Black Clawson, said in a telephone interview.

Post-consumer paper is what a consumer uses and normally throws away.

While the environmentally conscious U.S. market could be a bonanza for the recycling technology, it could still face some hurdles from a practical standpoint, industry experts say.

"We're absolutely interested in pursuing these opportunities," Brian O'Leary, production manager for Time Magazine in New York, said after being told about Black Clawson's claims for the technology.

"No one is doing this commercially in the United States right now," added Mike Misner, market analyst for National Solid Waste Management in Washington.

In Japan, Mr. Landegger said, the technology can produce magazine-quality paper that contains 80 percent waste, such as old newsprint and magazines. A small amount of office waste, including computer print-outs, colored paper and facsimiles, could be included.

Translating that technology to the United States, however, could be difficult, according to one paper expert.

"I have to be a Doubting Thomas," said Jaye McKinney, manager of manufacturing projects for the coated paper group at International Paper Co.,

Purchase, N.Y.

Because Japanese magazine paper contains longer fibers and is stronger than U.S. paper, the Japanese magazine paper may be better suited for recycling to begin with, he contends.

His own company is making a grade of magazine stock that contains 15 percent waste office paper, he said.

Although paper recycling has a long history in the United States, Japan has been at the forefront of putting reclaimed material in higher grades of paper, Mr. Landegger said. This is because Japan is "fiber poor" and does not have an abundance of trees.

To help Japan meet its demand for recycling technology, Black Clawson has been exporting engineering drawings and know-how for 30 years but not much hardware.

The company sells about $120 million a year in recycling technology and goods worldwide, including to Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America and, to a lesser extent, Africa and the Middle East.

IHI, its Japanese licensee, sells another $30 million.

Demand for new recycling technology in the United States likely will be strong, given the paper industry's goal to recover 40 percent of its production for recycling. That would involve recovering and reusing about 40 million tons of wastepaper, according to the American Paper Institute in New York.

To help bring the magazine paper technology to the United States, Black Clawson is expanding its Middletown, Ohio, research and development center, which the company uses as a laboratory and showcase for all its equipment.

Products now being made with some recycled paper include cereal boxes, tissue paper, newsprint and some stationery. But finding a consistent quality and strength has been the problem with magazine stock, which is thin and has a light glossy coating.

According to Mr. Landegger, the Black Clawson technology can be used to make lightly coated magazine stock, known in the trade as No. 4 and No. 5, with 80 percent recycled material and 20 percent virgin pulp.

No. 4 and No. 5 grades of magazine paper are used by Time, Newsweek and similar magazines. The technology is not for higher grades of paper, such as No. 2 and No. 3, used by Vogue and National Geographic, and No. 1 grade, which goes into many annual reports, he said.