How is Paper Recycled?

How is Paper Recycled?

For most of my life, every other Wednesday night my mom would tell me, "Nicholas, don't forget to bring the paper and cardboard out to the curb." I'd complain and begrudgingly mope over to the garage where I would take a look at what I'd be working with this time around. Number one thing I would see, newspapers, all neatly stored within paper bags from Shop Rite or Stop 'N Shop. Lots and lots of heavy newspaper filled paper bags.

Stacks of newspapers

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), about 73 percent of newspapers are recycled each year.  To successfully recycle it's important that your paper is clean, meaning no contaminants such as, food, metal and of course plastic. Yup, no plastic! Which means those heavy bags filled with newspapers were not sitting snugly in a plastic bag with handles. I can still remember attempting to pick up seven bags of newspaper at once without handles, because lets be real, it's easier to make one trip with more than you can physically carry, rather than just making multiple trips. Bags would fall, tear, rip and ultimately I'd end up with a large portion of the NY Times and Bergen Record scattered across the driveway. This is so stupid! I'd rather be inside playing video games.

squirrel in can - "recycle"Believe it or not, recycling isn't stupid and it doesn't require that much effort to make a difference (well maybe it does if your a stubborn teenager). Of course, recycling has quite a few environmental benefits that make carrying that paper to the curb worth it. Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, limits pollution  and even helps to support local economy.

But unfortunately, as a young child I could care less about recycling, and you may feel that same way now regardless of age. Chances are though, if you've read this far you are at least a little curious about it.

So how is paper recycled?

Now that you've finally lugged all that paper and cardboard out to the curb what happens? First your paper is picked up and taken to a paper mill, where it is separated and stored. Depending on paper grade, different types of paper are kept separately. There they wait until their time comes.

Alien from Toy Story

Once chosen, they are placed on a conveyor belt and put through the re-pulping and screening process. Re-pulping entails breaking down the paper into small pieces, mixing with water and chemicals, and then heating. It is then screened, during the screening process all contaminants such as plastic or glue are removed. From there, the newly created pulp mixture is cleaned and de-inked through a water mix and a process called flotation. During flotation, air and soap-like chemicals are fed into the pulp and cause the ink to extract from the pulp and rise to the surface where it creates a foam. The inky foam is then removed off the top. Once the ink is out, the pulp is beaten to make the recycled fibers swell, this makes them ideal for paper-making. If the recycled pulp is intended to be made into white paper, it is then bleached with hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, or oxygen to brighten and whiten. For brown recycled paper that step is skipped.

recycling diagram

Finally the pulp mixture is blended with water and continuously sprayed onto a huge flat wired screen. The water drains from the pulp and the recycled fibers bond together to form a water sheet. That sheet is brought through a series of rollers which squeeze out more water while simultaneously being heated, which dries out the paper. The finished paper is wound into a giant roll and removed from the machine, a single roll can be as wide as 30 feet and weight as much as 20 tons! Eventually that roll is cut into smaller rolls or sheets before being shipped back out.


At JAM Paper we have hundreds of different recycled products which have, at one point or another, all been through this very process. From envelopes to colored paper, folders and more. When you look at all that goes into the paper recycling process, that 1 minute trip to the curb and back seems a lot less daunting.

Recycle Process facts learned from

Understanding the Paper Recycling Process

Have you ever wondered how paper is recycled? The process of paper recycling begins with collection, where used paper is gathered from various sources such as offices, schools, and households. The collected paper is then sorted and cleaned to remove any contaminants such as staples, tape, or plastic. Once the paper is sorted and cleaned, it is pulped and mixed with water to create a slurry. This slurry is then spread out and dried to form new sheets of paper. The benefits of paper recycling are numerous, including reducing the need for raw materials, saving energy, and minimizing waste. Additionally, recycling paper helps to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. By understanding the paper recycling process, we can all play a part in preserving the environment for future generations.

Benefits of Paper Recycling

Paper recycling offers numerous benefits for both the environment and the economy. By recycling paper, we can reduce the demand for virgin wood pulp, which helps to conserve forests and natural habitats. Additionally, recycling paper saves energy and water, as it requires less energy and water to produce recycled paper compared to paper made from virgin materials. Furthermore, recycling paper helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, contributing to a healthier planet. From an economic standpoint, paper recycling creates jobs and stimulates the economy, making it a win-win for both the environment and society.

Use Cases for Recycled Paper

Recycled paper has a wide range of use cases across various industries. It can be used to produce packaging materials, such as cardboard boxes and paper bags, as well as office supplies like notebooks, envelopes, and printer paper. In the publishing industry, recycled paper is used to produce books, magazines, and newspapers. Additionally, recycled paper is utilized in the production of tissue paper, paper towels, and other household paper products. By incorporating recycled paper into these use cases, businesses can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Alternatives to Paper Recycling

While paper recycling is an effective way to reduce waste and conserve resources, there are alternative approaches to consider. One alternative is to reduce paper consumption by embracing digital solutions such as e-books, e-statements, and electronic communication. Another option is to reuse paper by printing on both sides, using scrap paper for notes, and repurposing packaging materials. Additionally, exploring alternative materials such as bamboo, hemp, or agricultural residues for paper production can offer sustainable alternatives to traditional wood-based paper. By considering these alternatives, we can further minimize the environmental impact of paper consumption.

Tips for Using Recycled Paper

When using recycled paper, there are several tips to keep in mind to maximize its environmental benefits. First, look for products with high post-consumer recycled content, as these have undergone the most extensive recycling process. Additionally, consider using paper products that are certified by reputable organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) to ensure responsible sourcing and production. Furthermore, encourage proper recycling practices by disposing of used paper in designated recycling bins and supporting initiatives that promote paper recycling in your community. By following these tips, you can make a positive impact on the environment through the use of recycled paper.

The Future of Paper Recycling

As we look to the future, advancements in technology and innovation continue to drive the paper recycling industry forward. From improved sorting and processing techniques to the development of new paper products with enhanced sustainability, the future of paper recycling holds great promise. Additionally, increased awareness and education about the importance of paper recycling are inspiring individuals and businesses to embrace more sustainable practices. By staying informed and actively participating in paper recycling efforts, we can collectively contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.


Paper Recycling: A Step-by-Step Guide

Key Summary:

  • Paper recycling is crucial for reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
  • This article will provide a detailed guide on the paper recycling process and how individuals can contribute.
  • Key findings will cover the benefits of paper recycling, ways individuals can help, and real-world examples of successful recycling programs.

Paper recycling plays a vital role in reducing waste and conserving resources for a more sustainable environment. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of paper recycling and provide tips on how individuals can contribute to this important cause. Join us in making a positive impact through paper recycling efforts!

The Paper Recycling Process

One of the first steps in the paper recycling process is the collection of paper waste. This can be done through curbside recycling programs, drop-off centers, or recycling bins in public places. Once the paper waste is collected, it goes through a sorting and separation process where different types of paper are separated based on their quality and grade.

Pulping and Deinking

After sorting, the paper waste is pulped, which involves breaking down the paper fibers into a pulp mixture. During this process, any ink or contaminants are removed through deinking. This step is crucial for producing high-quality recycled paper products.

Refining and Bleaching

Once the pulp is deinked, it goes through a refining process to further break down the fibers and improve the quality of the pulp. Bleaching may also be done to whiten the pulp and remove any remaining impurities. These steps help ensure that the recycled paper meets quality standards.


Finally, the refined pulp is used to make new paper products through the papermaking process. The pulp is mixed with water and other additives, then formed into sheets and dried to create recycled paper. This paper can then be used to make various products, from newspapers to packaging materials.

Benefits of Paper Recycling

One of the key benefits of paper recycling is the conservation of resources. By recycling paper, we can save trees and reduce the demand for virgin pulp, which helps protect forests and wildlife habitats. Additionally, paper recycling helps reduce landfill waste by diverting paper from landfills and incinerators.

Energy Savings

Recycling paper also leads to energy savings, as it takes less energy to produce recycled paper compared to paper made from virgin pulp. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Furthermore, recycling paper helps reduce the need for water and chemicals in the papermaking process, leading to environmental benefits.

Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Another important benefit of paper recycling is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. By recycling paper, we can reduce the amount of methane gas produced in landfills, as paper waste decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Recycling paper helps mitigate climate change and promote a healthier environment for future generations.

How Individuals Can Contribute to Paper Recycling

Individuals can contribute to paper recycling by recycling paper at home and in the workplace. This can be done by separating paper waste from other recyclables and placing it in designated recycling bins. Choosing recycled paper products is another way individuals can support paper recycling efforts.

Choosing Recycled Paper Products

When purchasing paper products, individuals can look for those made from recycled materials. By choosing recycled paper products, individuals can help create demand for recycled paper and support the paper recycling industry.

Educating Others About the Importance of Paper Recycling

Education is key to promoting paper recycling. Individuals can educate others about the benefits of paper recycling and encourage them to recycle paper in their daily lives. By raising awareness about the importance of paper recycling, individuals can inspire others to take action and make a positive impact on the environment.

Who Can Benefit from Paper Recycling

1. Individuals who are passionate about sustainability and reducing waste.2. Businesses looking to implement eco-friendly practices and reduce their environmental impact.3. Communities aiming to promote recycling and create a more sustainable environment.4. Schools and educational institutions interested in teaching students about the importance of recycling.5. Environmental organizations working to raise awareness about the benefits of paper recycling.

When to Incorporate Paper Recycling

1. When disposing of paper waste at home, work, or school.2. During community clean-up events or recycling drives.3. When purchasing paper products for personal or business use.4. When educating others about the importance of paper recycling.5. When looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve resources.

Examples of Paper Recycling in Action

1. A local business that implements a paper recycling program in their office to reduce waste.2. A school that educates students about the benefits of paper recycling and encourages them to recycle.3. A community that organizes a paper recycling drive to collect paper waste from residents.4. An environmental organization that advocates for policies promoting paper recycling and sustainability.5. An individual who actively recycles paper at home and encourages others to do the same.

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Potential Use Cases for Our Product

1. Businesses looking to streamline their operations and improve efficiency.2. Individuals seeking a reliable and versatile solution for everyday tasks.3. Educational institutions aiming to enhance learning experiences and engagement.4. Non-profit organizations focused on promoting sustainability and eco-friendly practices.5. Healthcare facilities in need of a secure and user-friendly system for patient care.

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Wrapping It Up

As we conclude our exploration of paper recycling, it is clear that this process is essential for reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting sustainability. By taking action and participating in paper recycling efforts, we can all make a positive impact on the environment and create a more sustainable future. Let's continue to recycle paper and work towards a greener world together!

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