Recycled paper

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Recycled paper is paper that has been made from plant fibres or cellulose sourced from recycled products made from natural fibres. While most of the recycled paper is made from paper itself, clothes made from natural fibres and jute products, can also be used for making recycled paper.

The concept of recycled paper is as old as the art of papermaking itself. Around 200 B.C., the Chinese used old fishing nets to make the world’s very first piece of paper. Till the medieval period old rags and clothes were shredded into individual fibers to make paper. In 1719, Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur, a French naturalist, observed wasps building their nest. Inspired, Reaumur suggested that paper could be made from wood. In response to a critical shortage of rags to supply the ever-increasing demand for paper, fiber from trees was substituted.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

  • Compared to using virgin wood, paper made with 100% recycled content uses 44% less energy, produces 38% less greenhouse gas emissions, 41% less particulate emissions, generates 50% less wastewater, 49% less solid waste and uses 100% less wood.
  • In 2003, only 48.3% of office paper was recovered for recycling.
  • As much as 80% of the content of typical recovered paper can actually be used in the recycling process.
  • Paper recycling is one way through which we can help protect our environment by reusing our resources and conserving landfill space.
  • This is a way of increasing awareness about forest products and uses.
  • It is easy to recycle and make recycled paper.
  • The waste from the manufacturing recycled paper from recovered paper is can be burned to make energy, composted, or land filled. It can also be used to make concrete and gravel for roads.

All about recycled paper

Recovered paper can be used for many purposes.

  • It can be recycled into paper and paperboard products. With a few exceptions, recovered paper is generally recycled into a grade similar to, or of lower quality than, the grade of the original product. For example, old corrugated boxes are used to make new recycled corrugated boxes. Recovered printing and writing paper can be used to make new recycled copy paper.
  • Recovered paper can be used in a variety of other products as well. It can be used for fuel, ceiling and wall insulation, paint filler, and roofing.
  • Recycled pulp can be molded into egg cartons and fruit trays.
  • Shredded paper can be used for animal bedding.

Manufacturing recycled paper from recovered paper

  1. Sorting -- This requires separating clean recovered paper which is free from contaminants, such as food, plastic, metal, and other trash. The paper is sorted according to grades or types of paper. The collected paper is wrapped in tight bales and transported to a paper mill.
  2. Contaminated paper which cannot be recycled must be composted, burned for energy, or landfilled.
  3. Re-pulping and Screening -- The recovered paper is made into pulp which is forced through screens that remove small contaminants such as bits of plastic and globs of glue.
  4. Cleaning -- The pulp is then cleaned, deinked, bleached and refined.
  5. Papermaking -- The clean pulp is then made into paper. The recycled fiber

can be used alone, or blended with new wood fiber (called virgin fiber) to give it extra strength or smoothness.

Unlearn

  • It is a myth that recycled paper is more polluting than making new paper. Pulping, bleaching and manufacturing paper, especially paper made from 'chemical' pulp (used for most printing papers other than newsprint), requires more chemicals and is often more polluting than making recycled paper.
  • People think that making recycled paper requires a lot bleaching. This is not trues as most recycled papers require little if any bleaching.

CopperBytes

  • Recovered paper accounts for 37% of the U.S. pulp supply.
  • Printing and writing papers use the least amount of recycled content -- just 6%. Tissues use the most, at 45%, and newsprint is not far behind, at 32%.
  • Demand for recycled paper will exceed supply by 1.5 million tons of recycled pulp per year within 10 years.
  • While the paper industry invests in new recycled newsprint and paper packaging plants in the developing world, almost none of the new printing and writing paper mills use recycled content.
  • Compared to using virgin wood, paper made with 100% recycled content uses 44% less energy, produces 38% less greenhouse gas emissions, 41% less particulate emissions, generates 50% less wastewater, 49% less solid waste and uses 100% less wood.

References

  • DID YOU KNOW……. PAPER
  • Myths and Facts about Recycled Paper
  • How is Paper Recycled?