Friday, January 18, 2019

How Is Paper Recycled?

by Susan Q (writer), East Village, New York, January 03, 2014

Most people have heard of paper recycling but few know how it's done. We show what's involved.

Recycled paper can be reconstituted into new paper that can be put to good use all over again. Old paper, that has already been used for packaging, printing and even for wall papering can be used once more and given a new lease of life. The best paper to use for recycling is 100 per cent consumer recycled paper that has been used just once before, perhaps as writing paper or other forms of stationery as it is usually of the highest quality. So-called consumer recycled paper is made from scraps that can no longer be used for the intended purposes and is ideal for repurposing into new forms of paper products. According to All Star Shredding this paper is not simply made up of what was formerly household waste but is also collected from offices industrial units by local authorities and scrap paper traders.


Paper is taken away after it has been stored in recycling bins and subsequently deposited into larger recycling receptacle containers – in the case of offices. Along with paper deposited in recycling bins, confidential waste bins are also used as a good source of recyclable material, although there need to be controls placed on the way such paper is handled. A key part of the entire recycling process is the awareness of people not to dispose of paper into general waste but to save it for collection and later recycling.

Filtering And Cleaning

Once collected, the recyclable paper is then transported to a plant where it is separated into differing types and grades before it is recycled. The filtered paper is then given a bath in soapy water to remove anything that is not wanted. This includes ink that may have been used on the paper, plastic film from window envelopes, staples, glue and anything that might have got mixed in with the paper by accident. The cleansed paper is then transferred into a large hopper - or other storage container - where it is mixed with more water to create a slurry-like mixture.

Producing New Paper

The operatives at the recycling plant add different materials to the slurry, depending upon the sort of paper products they want to later produce. These can include ingredients that are designed to make card, newspaper, toilet paper or even new office paper. The slurry is then spread out and squashed using large rollers which flatten it and also squeeze out excess water – rather like a large mangle. Once the slurry has been passed through the rollers it should make large, thin sheets which can be rolled up into industry standard sizes. The rolling up process should only be undertaken once the paper has fully dried. Some plants speed this process up by using hot air systems, but drying in the air without this also works.


Once the recycled paper is sold to someone who can process it, then it is put to use again. Potential buyers of recycled paper include book publishers, newspaper printers, greetings car manufacturers, box and packaging makers and the public, in the form of stationery.

Why Recycle?

Paper use is one of principle causes of deforestation around the globe. Paper is made from trees and therefore any upturn in demand for it causes more forests to be cut down, sometimes from sources that are not sustainably managed. Therefore increasing demand needs to be met more fully by recycled paper. One of the ways that people can help with this is to use less high quality white paper. Instead, buy lower grade recycled paper for notes, letters and scrapbooks. As more and more people get used to seeing recycled paper used by others in a variety of situations and settings, so the demand for pristine white paper should drop, meaning that less deforestation occurs in the longer term. It is worth remembering that paper, even though it has been recycled once, can go through the process again and again.

About the author:

Susan writes at Qeedle a news site for small businesses.

About the Writer

Susan Q is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
Want to write articles too? Sign up & become a writer!

0 comments on How Is Paper Recycled?

Add A Comment!

Click here to signup or login.

Rate This Article

Your vote matters to us