The PAPER RECYCLING PROCESS - Steps, benefits and more

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Paper is mainly made up of cellulose fibers that are obtained from wood and, in fact, it is estimated that up to 40% of the wood felled is used to make paper. Considering how important trees are to ecosystems, cutting down trees ends up altering them. Recycling the paper reduces the felling of trees and reduces the negative impact on the environment.

In this Green Ecologist article, we will talk about paper recycling process, it will explain what benefits we get from recycling paper and more details.

How to recycle paper at home

When you are going to perform the separation of waste at home, with paper it must be taken into account that not all paper can be recycled, since some contain other elements that do not qualify as paper. Here are some types of paper that cannot be recycled:

  • Within the paper that cannot be recycled is the toilet or sanitary paper, because after using it it is stained with fluids, which makes it impossible to recycle.
  • The same goes for grease-stained paper, normally used to wrap food for home delivery or to better store it in the fridge or freezer.
  • Waxed or paraffin papers are also not recyclable as wax cannot be separated from cellulose.
  • Other papers such as self-copying, photography paper, vegetable paper (onion paper), carbon paper or that used for faxing cannot be recycled either, since they contain other elements that are also impossible to separate from cellulose.

Expand this topic further by knowing here What type of paper is recycled.

Once the separation has been done at home, the waste paper should be deposited in the recycling bin for paper. This container is the blue one, where paper and cardboard are mixed since both materials are composed mainly of cellulose. We also recommend this other post on How to recycle paper at home step by step.

How is the paper recycling process

There are different phases of the paper recycling process that should be known:

  1. First of all, you must collect all the used paper possible, this possible thanks to the availability of blue containers and public awareness.
  2. Once the paper has been collected, it is transported to an authorized manager that takes care of the recycling of the paper.
  3. When these waste paper arrive at the authorized manager, they must go through a control and be registered with the date of arrival, the description of the paper, its origin, the CER code and the data of the person who has carried out the transport must also be included.
  4. Depending on the origin of the paper, it is classified to avoid mixing papers of different qualities, once classified the paper is pressed and packed to be sent to the paper recycling plants.
  5. Once there, the paper is recycled.

When this material reaches the recycling plants, the steps of paper recycling are as follows:

  1. The paper goes through a pulping phase in which the fibers of the paper that are being recycled are separated and a pulp is formed.
  2. Next, the paper pulp goes through sieves in order to eliminate all types of elements that are paper (wires, sand, plastics …).
  3. The ink from the paper is removed with soap and applying air under pressure, air bubbles are formed that rise to the surface that are absorbed by vacuum cleaners, in these bubbles is the ink of the paper using.
  4. Continuous washing and thickening are given to reduce the water contained in the pulp.
  5. Finally, the paper dries completely and you get a thin sheet of paper.

Benefits of recycling paper

There are several environmental benefits of recycling paper:

  • Thanks to its recycling, the number of trees that need to be cut down for its manufacture is reduced. It is estimated that for every ton of recycled paper, an average of 13 trees are left to cut down. Here you can learn about How a tree is transformed into paper.
  • In addition to reducing the felling of trees, for every ton that is recycled, 900 kilos less of CO2 are emitted, since trees in their photosynthesis process absorb CO2 from the environment and emit O2.
  • Large quantities of liters of oil are also saved, water consumption and energy use are reduced.

With all reasons to recycle paper that exist, it is clear that it is better to recycle paper than to make them from new raw materials. For recycling to be possible, we must bear in mind the responsibility of governments with a good recycling policy and the responsibility and commitment of each person.

If you want to go deeper into this topic, here you can learn about Why it is important to recycle paper and cardboard and also how long it takes for paper to degrade.

The manufacturing process of recycled paper

This is the process that is followed to give a second life to the paper that we have recycled, turning it back into usable paper:

  1. By the time the ink has been removed from the paper pulp, it is passed to a paper machine.
  2. The pulp is placed on a belt that is guided by rollers and all the water contained in the pulp from the previous processes is eliminated through gravity, vacuum, pressure and drying processes at 120 ° C.
  3. At the end, a large sheet of paper is obtained that is wound into reels.
  4. Finally, recycled paper it is ready to be used with the desired shape and texture.

If you want to read more articles similar to The paper recycling process, we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category.

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