The paper distribution

For recycled (or new) and printed paper, the final step before use (and therefore the return into the recycling process) is distribution. In other words (and in the newspaper business), the link between the paper’s and printing and its circulation. The way distributing companies operate can vary, depending on the type of paper used or target market. The recycling of paper demands in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the different industries involved, so lets take a look at their different activities.


Each year in France, the biggest ad distribution companies drop several billions of documents in French mailboxes, using specialised local branches for leaflet distribution.
Printing presses send out pallets full of leaflets ordered by large retailers or small and medium sized businesses. Before the actual distribution, these companies must condition the documents into packets, the weight of which is regulated by collective agreements (over 500g, a second packet must be made). These packets are setup and ordered manually by the local distributors (on or off site), or created using specialised machinery, before being dropped into on of the 26 million mailboxes annually targeted by the industry (these packets then rejoin the recycling industry via selective collecting).
The distribution phase is regulated by a strict system of rounds, on which the efficiency of the process depends. Because a small mistake can lead to important losses, distributors recruit engineers to limit time-wasting and flyer returns, but also to split the amounts up according to neighbourhoods, ‘no junk mail’ stickers (8% of French mailboxes), or types of buildings (yield differs between vertical and horizontal housing).
On top of the mailbox distribution, companies can setup street-distribution campaigns, with employees handing out flyers by hand, or placing them on car windshields. Although flyers account for 90% of this type of distribution, free newspapers (such as 20 minutes  or Metro) that are handed out in public spaces can also be distributed by the same companies. 


To understand how newspapers (local or national) and magazines go from the printing press to the readers, here are the different steps or processes of the French distribution process:
Press distribution:
The two French press distribution agencies (Presstalis and the Messageries Lyonnaises de Presse) receive the titles sent by the printers (the local and national daily and weekly newspapers and magazines), sort them, and preparing the orders based on the needs of each client, then re-injecting them into the newsagent network with which they collaborate (a little over 200 of them per company).
The central newsagent is in charge of the next step of the distribution, and supplies the points of sale (1 for every 2000 inhabitants in France). He receives and allocates the publication during the night and delivers the various packages early in the morning to their different point of sales (newsagents, press resellers, etc)
While the press editor controls the amount of publications distributed within his network, the central newsagent, who has a better understanding of the local market and needs, controls the amount of publications distributed to the local newsagents.
Mailing and delivery
For subscribers, there are two solutions available to the French publishers: the first is mailing (with the help of specialised companies), the second is delivery to the subscribers home or workplaces. This method, largely used by France’s Local News Press (50%, as opposed to 10 or 15% by national press), is increasingly used throughout France, and could soon be a serious competitor to the mailing method. 


Every year, waste management and recycling companies collect large amounts of material from these distributors.
For the press distribution industry, paper recycling professionals work with the newspaper resellers who are also in charge of collecting the unsold papers, sorting them (to aid in the recycling process), and put them in the garbage skips. Sometimes, the waste is processed directly by the editor, to whom the reseller has sent the recycled paper.
For leaflet distributors, recycling companies collect only a certain percentage of non-distributed or over-ordered material. Special crates are used instead of skips, whose volumes have been optimised, to make the storage and collecting process more flexible. After all this, the paper recycling can start anew. 
The paper and cardboard recycling cycle is a step-by-step process. Discover the different steps:

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