Paper recycling is the process of turning waste paper into new paper products. There are three categories of paper that can be used as feedstocks for making recycled paper: mill broke, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste. Mill broke is paper trimmings and other paper scrap from the manufacture of paper, and is recycled internally in a paper mill. Pre-consumer waste is material which left the paper mill but was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. Post-consumer waste is material discarded after consumer use, such as old corrugated containers (OCC), old magazines, old newspapers (ONP), office paper, old telephone directories, and residential mixed paper (RMP). Paper suitable for recycling is called "scrap paper", often used to produce molded pulp packaging. The industrial process of removing printing ink from paperfibers of recycled paper to make deinked pulp is called deinking, an invention of the German jurist Justus Claproth.
Paper recycling process
The process of paper recycling involves mixing used paper with water and chemicals to break it down. It is then chopped up and heated, which breaks it down further into strands of cellulose, a type of organic plant material; this resulting mixture is called pulp, or slurry. It is strained through screens, which remove any glue or plastic that may still be in the mixture then cleaned, de-inked, bleached, and mixed with water. Then it can be made into new recycled paper. The same fibers can be recycled about seven times, but they get shorter every time and eventually are strained out.
Rationale for recycling
Industrialized paper making has an effect on the environment both upstream (where raw materials are acquired and processed) and downstream (waste-disposal impacts).
Today, 90% of paper pulp is created from wood ( in most modern mills only 9-16% of pulp is made from pulp logs the rest from waste wood that was traditionally burnt). Paper production accounts for about 35% of felled trees, and represents 1.2% of the world's total economic output. Recycling one ton of newsprint saves about 1 ton of wood while recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood. This is because kraft pulping requires twice as much wood since it removes lignin to produce higher quality fibres than mechanical pulping processes. Relating tons of paper recycled to the number of trees not cut is meaningless, since tree size varies tremendously and is the major factor in how much paper can be made from how many trees. Trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16% of world pulp production, old growth forests 9% and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the balance. Most pulp mill operators practice reforestation to ensure a continuing supply of trees. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certify paper made from trees harvested according to guidelines meant to ensure good forestry practices. It has been estimated that recycling half the world’s paper would avoid the harvesting of 20 million acres (81,000 km²) of forestland.
Energy consumption is reduced by recycling, although there is debate concerning the actual energy savings realized. The Energy Information Administration claims a 40% reduction in energy when paper is recycled versus paper made with unrecycled pulp, while the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) claims a 64% reduction. Some calculations show that recycling one ton of newspaper saves about 4,000 kWh (14 GJ) of electricity, although this may be too high (see comments below on unrecycled pulp) ( recycling paper also produces no free energy in the way of process steam or recovery steam thus making it more expensive to recycle paper than to make new paper). This is enough electricity to power a 3-bedroom European house for an entire year, or enough energy to heat and air-condition the average North American home for almost six months. Recycling paper to make pulp actually consumes more fossil fuels than making new pulp via the kraft process; these mills generate most of their energy from burning waste wood (bark, roots, sawmill waste) and byproduct lignin (black liquor). Pulp mills producing new mechanical pulp use large amounts of energy; a very rough estimate of the electrical energy needed is 10 gigajoules per tonne of pulp (2500 kW·h per short ton).
About 35% of municipal solid waste (before recycling) by weight is paper and paper products.
Water and air pollution
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that recycling causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than making virgin paper. Pulp mills can be sources of both air and water pollution, especially if they are producing bleached pulp. Modern mills produce considerably less pollution than those of a few decades ago. Recycling paper decreases the demand for virgin pulp, thus reducing the overall amount of air and water pollution associated with paper manufacture. Recycled pulp can be bleached with the same chemicals used to bleach virgin pulp, but hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydrosulfite are the most common bleaching agents. Recycled pulp, or paper made from it, is known as PCF (process chlorine free) if no chlorine-containing compounds were used in the recycling process. However, recycling mills may have polluting by-products like sludge. De-inking at Cross Pointe's Miami, Ohio mill results in sludge weighing 22% of the weight of wastepaper recycled.
Recycling facts and figures
In the mid-19th century, there was an increased demand for books and writing material. Up to that time, paper manufacturers had used discarded linen rags for paper, but supply could not keep up with the increased demand. Books were bought at auctions for the purpose of recycling fiber content into new paper, at least in the United Kingdom, by the beginning of the 19th century.
Internationally, about half of all recovered paper comes from converting losses (pre-consumer recycling), such as shavings and unsold periodicals; approximately one third comes from household or post-consumer waste.
Some statistics on paper consumption:
- The average per capita paper use worldwide was 110 pounds (50 kg).
- It is estimated that 95% of business information is still stored on paper.
- Recycling 1 short ton (0.91 t) of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7 thousand US gallons (26 m3) of water, 3 cubic yards (2.3 m3) of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil (84 US gal or 320 l), and 4,100 kilowatt-hours (15 GJ) of electricity – enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
- Although paper is traditionally identified with reading and writing, communications has now been replaced by packaging as the single largest category of paper use at 41% of all paper used.
- 115 billion sheets of paper are used annually for personal computers. The average web user prints 28 pages daily.
- Most corrugated fiberboard boxes have over 25% recycled fibers. Some are 100% recycled fiber.
Paper recycling by region
Paper recovery in Europe has a long history and has grown into a mature organization. In 2004 the paper recycling rate in Europe was 54.6% or 45.5 million short tons (41.3 Mt). The recycling rate in Europe reached 64.5% in 2007, leaving the industry on track to meeting its voluntary target of 66% by 2010.
Municipal collections of paper for recycling are in place. However, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun, in 2008, eight paper manufacturers in Japan have admitted to intentionally mislabeling recycled paper products, exaggerating the amount of recycled paper used.
Recycling has long been practiced in the United States. The history of paper recycling has several dates of importance:
- 1690: The first paper mill to use recycled linen was established by the Rittenhouse family.
- 1896: The first major recycling center was started by the Benedetto family in New York City, where they collected rags, newspaper, and trash with a pushcart.
- 1993: The first year when more paper was recycled than was buried in landfills.
Today, over half of all paper used in the United States is collected and recycled. Paper products are still the largest component of municipal solid waste, making up more than 40% of the composition of landfills. In 2006, a record 53.4% of the paper used in the US (or 53.5 million tons) was recovered for recycling. This is up from a 1990 recovery rate of 33.5%. The US paper industry set a goal of recovering 55 percent of all paper used in the US by 2012. Paper products used by the packaging industry were responsible for about 77% of packaging materials recycled, with more than 24 million pounds recovered in 2005.
By 1998, some 9,000 curbside recycling programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off centers existed nationwide. As of 1999, 480 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.
In 2008, the global financial crisis caused the price of old newspapers to drop in the U.S. from $130 to $40 per short ton ($140/t to $45/t) in October.
In Mexico, recycled paper, rather than wood pulp, is the principal feedstock in papermills accounting for about 75% of raw materials.
- "Debunking the Myths of Recycled Paper". Recycling Point Dot Com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2007.
- "How is Paper Recycled? this is crat by tiwari". TAPPI. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Recycling Paper". BenefitsofRecycling.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Hershkowitz, A. (2002). Bronx ecology. Washington DC: Island Press. p. 62
- Martin, Sam (2004). "Paper Chase". Ecology Communications, Inc. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
- "Trends and Current Status of the Contribution of the Forestry Sector to National Economies". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2004. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
- "Environmental Paper Network". Green Press Initiative. 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Marcot, Bruce G. (1992). "How Many Recycled Newspapers Does It Take to Save A Tree?". The Ecology Plexus. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
- "Certification Tracking products from the forest to the shelf!". Retrieved 21 September 2007.
- EarthWorks Group. 1990. “The Recycler’s Handbook”. Berkeley, CA: The EarthWorks Press
- "Case history: The truth about recycling". The Economist. Retrieved 19 Apr 2012.
- Recycling Paper & Glass "SavingEnergy Recycling Paper & Glass". Energy Information Administration. September 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- "Information about Recycling". Bureau of International Recycling. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- "Recycle – Save Energy". South Carolina Electric & Gas Company. 1991. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- Jeffries, Tom (27 March 1997). "Kraft pulping: Energy consumption and production". University of Wisconsin Biotech Center. Retrieved 21 October 2007.[dead link]
- Biermann, Christopher J. (1993). Essentials of Pulping and Papermaking. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc. ISBN 0-12-097360-X.
- "Executive Summary: Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2005 Facts and Figures" (PDF). US Environmental Protection Agency. 200. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
- "Recycle on the Go: Basic Information". US Environmental Protection Agency. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- MacFadden, Todd; Michael P. Vogel (June 1996). "Facts About Paper". Printers' National Environmental Assistance Center, Montana State University. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- "Recycling Paper and Glass". US Department of Energy. September 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- Howsam, Leslie (1991). Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth Century Publishing and the British and Foreign Bible Society. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521522129.
- "Recovered Paper". Bureau of International Recycling. Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- "Paper consumption data". Retrieved 12 November 2007.
- Source: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Discussion Paper (IIED, London, September 1996)
- "Wastes – Resource Conservation – Common Wastes & Materials – Paper Recycling". US EPA
- North American Factbook PPI, 1995 (Figures are for 1993)
- Worldwatch Institute
- Gartner group and HP
- "ERPC Facts and Figures". European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC). Retrieved 27 September 2006.
- "European Declaration on Paper Recycling 2006–2010. Monitoring Report 2007". European Recovered Paper Council. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- "Papermaking Moves to the United States". Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- "Recycling in the Paper Industry". Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- "Paper University – All About Paper". Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- "Municipal Solid Waste – FAQ". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- Baird, Colin (2004) Environmental Chemistry (3rd ed.) p. 512. W. H. Freeman ISBN 0-7167-4877-0; Recycling in Ohio[dead link]
- "2006 Recovered Paper Annual Statistics". Paper Industry Association Council. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- Data on Paper Recovery
- "Municipal Solid Waste – Recycling". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on 8 March 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2006.
- Page, Candace, Waste district raises recycling fees, Burlington Free Press, 12 November 2008
- Business News Americas staff reporters. "Paper, cardboard recycling industry ranked 4th in world, Mexico, Water & Waste, news". Retrieved 7 May 2012.
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/recycle.htm".[dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paper recycling.|
- Paper recycling on the Open Directory Project
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Paper and Paperboard Products
- How to Make Recycled Paper – A tutorial for making your own recycled paper