This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The recycling of paper is the process by which waste paper is turned into new paper products. It has a number of important benefits besides saving trees from being cut down. It is less energy and water intensive than paper made from wood pulp. It saves waste paper from occupying landfill and producing methane as it breaks down. Around two thirds of all paper products in the US are now recovered and recycled, although it does not all become new paper. After repeated processing the fibers become too short for the production of new paper.
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 in a paper mill. Pre-consumer waste is a 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, and newspapers. Paper suitable for recycling is called "scrap paper", often used to produce moulded pulp packaging. The industrial process of removing printing ink from paper fibres of recycled paper to make deinked pulp is called deinking, an invention of the German jurist Justus Claproth.
The process of waste paper recycling most often involves mixing used/old 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 (especially from plastic-coated paper) 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 share of ink in a wastepaper stock is up to about 2% of the total weight.
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, 40% of paper pulp is created from wood (in most modern mills only 9-16% of pulp is made from pulp logs; the rest comes 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.
This section may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia's layout guidelines. (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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). 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) in the United States by weight is paper and paper products. 42.4% of that is recycled.
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:
- In 1996 it was 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 16 pages daily.
- Most corrugated fiberboard boxes have over 25% recycled fibers. Some are 100% recycled fiber.
- In 1997, 299,044 metric tons of paper was produced (including cardboard).
- In the United States, the average consumption of paper per person in 1999 was approximately 354 kilograms. This would be the same consumption for 6 people in Asia or 30 people in Africa.
- In 2006-2007, Australia 5.5 million tons of paper and cardboard was used with 2.5 million tons of this recycled.
- Newspaper manufactured in Australia has 40% recycled content.
Paper recycling in Europe has a long history. The industry self-initiative European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) was set up in 2000 to monitor progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling. Since then, the commitments in the Declaration have been renewed every five years. In 2011, the ERPC committed itself to meeting and maintaining both a voluntary recycling rate target of 70% in the then E-27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2015 as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign and research and development. In 2014 the paper recycling rate in Europe was 71.7%, as stated in the 2014 Monitoring Report.
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. In 2012, paper and paperboard accounted for 68 million tons of municipal solid waste generated in the U.S., down from more than 87 million tons in 2000, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While paper is the most commonly recycled material—64.6 percent was recovered in 2012—it is being used less overall than at the turn of the century. Paper accounts for more than a half of all recyclables collected in the US, by weight.
The history of paper recycling has several dates of importance:
- In 1690: The first paper mill to use recycled linen was established by the Rittenhouse family.
- In 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.
- In 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[when?]. In 2006, a record 53.4% of the paper used in the US (53.5 million tons) was recovered for recycling, 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. Recently, junk mail has become a larger part of the overall recycling stream, compared to newspapers or personal letters. However, the increase in junk mail is still smaller compared to the declining use of paper from those sources.
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.
The environmental impact due to excessive use of paper has negative effects on trees and forest. Paper production utilizes nearly 40% of world's commercially cut timber. Millions of acres of forests are destroyed leading to deforestation disturbing the ecological balance. Many initiatives are being taken in India for recycling paper and reducing the hazards associated with it. Shree Aniruddha Upasana Foundation (Mumbai, India) is one such organization which undertakes used paper recycling projects. The foundation encourages using paper bags instead of plastic ones which again are a serious hazard to environment. They accept old newspapers, notebooks and so on and recycle the same into paper bags, teaching aids and toys for children.
The foundation also makes eco-friendly Lord Ganesh (a Hindu Deity) idols from paper pulp which are worshiped in Indian homes every year during Ganesh Chaturthi Festival (a Hindu Festival celebrated on birthday of Lord Ganesh). These paper recycling activities are carried out throughout the year by the volunteers of the foundation converting waste paper into “No Waste” 
In Mexico, recycled paper, rather than wood pulp, is the principal feedstock in papermills accounting for about 75% of raw materials.
Limitations and impacts
Along with fibres, paper can contain a variety of inorganic and organic constituents, including up to 10,000 different chemicals, which can potentially contaminate the newly manufactured paper products. As an example, bisphenol A (a chemical commonly found in thermal paper) has been verified as a contaminant in a variety of paper products resulting from paper recycling. Groups of chemicals as phthalates, phenols, mineral oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and toxic metals have all been identified in paper material. Although several measures might reduce the chemical load in paper recycling (e.g., improved decontamination, optimized collection of paper for recycling), even completely terminating the use of a particular chemical (phase-out) might still result in its circulation in the paper cycle for decades.
- "Paper Recycling Facts, Figures and Information Sources". Small Business. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "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" (PDF). TAPPI. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- R. McKinney: Technology of Paper Recycling, 1995, p. 351. ISBN 9780751400175
- 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" (PDF). 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. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "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. Archived from the original on 20 December 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2007.
- Biermann, Christopher J. (1993). Essentials of Pulping and Papermaking. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-12-097360-6.
- "Executive Summary: Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2005 Facts and Figures" (PDF). US Environmental Protection Agency. 200. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
- "Recyc2007". 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 978-0521522120.
- "Recovered Paper". Bureau of International Recycling. Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- Source: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Discussion Paper (IIED, London, September 1996)
- "Paper Facts & Trivia". The Paper Project. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- ""Wastes – Resource Conservation – Common Wastes & Materials – Paper Recycling". US EPA". Epa.gov. 28 June 2006. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- North American Factbook PPI, 1995 (Figures are for 1993)
- "Reuse v Recycle article". Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in:
- Gartner group and HP
- "Paper Facts & Trivia". The Paper Project. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Recycling Facts and Tips | SITA Australia". Sita.com.au. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Paper and Cardboard Fact Sheet" (PDF). Clean Up Australia Ltd. September 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- How textbooks become toilet paper: A Birmingham recycling center moves beyond newsprint and cans, AL.com, Jon Reed, December 01, 2014
- Wastes - Resource Conservation - Common Wastes & Materials - Paper Recycling Frequent Questions
- "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". Archived from the original on 10 May 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- "Municipal Solid Waste – FAQ". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- Baird, Colin (2004) Environmental Chemistry (3rd ed.) p. 512. W. H. Freeman ISBN 0-7167-4877-0; Recycling in Ohio Archived 8 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine
- "2006 Recovered Paper Annual Statistics". Paper Industry Association Council. Archived from the original on 7 April 2006. 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.
- Pivnenko, Kostyantyn; Eriksson, Eva; Astrup, Thomas F. (2015). "Waste paper for recycling: Overview and identification of potentially critical substances" (PDF). Waste Management. 45: 134–142. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2015.02.028. PMID 25771763.
- Pivnenko, K.; Pedersen, G. A.; Eriksson, E.; Astrup, T. F. (1 October 2015). "Bisphenol A and its structural analogues in household waste paper" (PDF). Waste Management. 44: 39–47. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2015.07.017. PMID 26194879.
- Pivnenko, K.; Olsson, M. E.; Götze, R.; Eriksson, E.; Astrup, T. F. (2016). "Quantification of chemical contaminants in the paper and board fractions of municipal solid waste" (PDF). Waste Management. 51: 43–54. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2016.03.008. PMID 26969284.
- Pivnenko, Kostyantyn; Laner, David; Astrup, Thomas F. (15 November 2016). "Material Cycles and Chemicals: Dynamic Material Flow Analysis of Contaminants in Paper Recycling". Environmental Science & Technology. 50 (22): 12302–12311. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01791. ISSN 0013-936X. PMID 27572286.
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "https://web.archive.org/web/20060308134427/http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/recycle.htm".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paper recycling.|
- Paper recycling at Curlie
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Paper and Paperboard Products
- How to Make Recycled Paper – A tutorial for making your own recycled paper
- Waste Paper Recycling – How Paper Recycling works?