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Local Business Battles Paper Shortage

Domestic paper mills are becoming harder to find, and that might mean you’ll have to pay a little more for your office supplies.

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 6:27 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 6:41 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, MO.) Domestic paper mills have become harder to find, and that might mean you may have to pay a little more for your office supplies.


Following the 2008 recession, hundreds of American paper mills went out of business, but now that the economy has picked back up, there might not be enough mills to keep up with demands.

James Clayton, President of Clayton Paper and Distribution, said the volume of paper available is in short supply in the United States.

“We are on allocation with our mills, so we don’t get our full allotments that we want. and we are seeing price increases coming. We’ve had two price increases this year and we were told that there will probably be another one before the end of the year,” Clayton said.

In May, Clayton Paper oversold 8,000 cases of paper supplies, totalling out to nearly 10 truckloads worth of copy paper.

Clayton said his company only uses the domestic mills, Boise and Georgia Pacific, but foreign markets are having a big impact on American mills overall.

“The domestic mills have really fought this for a long time about importers dumping paper in our market that is really cheap. There is not necessarily anything wrong with the paper, it’s just that they don’t have the standards that we do in the United States," Clayton said. "They don’t pay wages like we do, hence they can dump paper at a much cheaper price."

Clayton said the cost of paper products have already increased for distributors and it will most likely start affecting customers before the end of the year.

“This is a long-term issue, it’s not going to go away. Prices are going to continue to go up until everything kind of balances out, but that’s just part of doing business,” Clayton said.

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