Get our newsletters

Newman & Co. celebrates 100 years


David Newman’s great-grandfather started recycling well before it was en vogue.

A Newtown resident, Newman serves as vice president and general manager of Newman & Co., the Northeast Philadelphia company started by his great-grandfather in 1919.

“We’re a recycled paperboard manufacturer and always have been,” Newman said. “We have always taken waste and scrap paper and re-pulped it and made it into new paper products here in Philadelphia.”

Those new products include the board on the backs of paper tablets, game boards, boxes, packaging, book covers and more.

“Our product goes into a very high-end rigid box; our product is 100 percent recycled and always has been,” Newman said. “We manufacture approximately 220 tons per day of recycled chip board,” he said. “To make that we bring in 240 tons of material every day to process.”

The company, which celebrated its 100 anniversary in the fall, even has its own power plant, where it makes 2 megawatts of electricity.

Newman’s great-grandfather started out in the scrap paper, rags and metal business. When he learned there was an opportunity, he purchased an old building in Northeast Philadelphia and fitted it with a paper machine. The hat box business, and the box business in general, was prevalent during the industrial revolution.

About 30 years ago, Newman & Co. started U.S. Recycling (USRI) and “between the two companies, we source handle, process and broker approximately 13,000 tons per month of paper and plastic,” Newman said.

It’s predominantly paper, but there’s a good amount of plastic, Newman said, adding, for a private company, to be processing that amount, “It’s a big deal.”

The company took over the Paper Retriever Program last May. Started in the early 2000s by a Canadian pulp and paper conglomerate, the Paper Retriever Program places containers at businesses and other generators, such as schools and churches, and provides free pickup service.

“We purchased the routes and equipment from their successor, Newman said. “We use it as raw material to make new paper products. It’s really quite sustainable, it’s regional, it’s local.”

For the previous operator, the value of the paper no longer covered the cost to pick-up and transport the material, Newman said, after China adopted a new environmental policy in 2018. But for Newman & Co. and USRI, that wasn’t the case.

“What the rest of the world is viewing as a dull and down and low -turning recycling market, we’re seeing as an opportunity to set our roots in deeper in the region and generate supply for our own mill, and to keep materials here in the U.S. instead of exporting them or sending them elsewhere,” Newman said.

“By us offering a service that we do not charge for it’s a tremendous cost avoidance for generators of waste paper and scrap that would otherwise either go in your trash or to a commercial hauler who’s charging for the same service that we’re offering at no cost. It’s cost avoidance and sustainable.”

Paper Retriever services are offered throughout Bucks County, as well as in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties, and the state of Delaware.

For information, call 215-509-2220 or email