Paper Recycling Process

This Simple Paper Recycling Process Can Save Millions of Trees

Paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle, and it can be used for a variety of purposes. Read on to know more about how it is made fit to be used twice over...
Recycling paper helps in the conservation of various natural resources. Some suggest that for one ton of paper recycled, nearly 350 gallons of oil, 15 trees, and 5000 gallons of water is saved. It plays a key role in preventing deforestation. Benefits also include saving the land which goes waste due to the dumping of paper garbage.


1: Before the paper is taken to the recycling center, it has to be sorted out according to its type and grade, such as corrugated containers or newspapers. The dealer usually guides you on sorting the paper. The sorted paper is tightly bundled, and then sent to the paper mill, where it is stocked in the warehouse for further use. It will be transported to conveyors with the use of forklifts. The conveyor dumps the paper into a pulper, which is a machine used to convert the dry paper into pulp. It contains chemicals and water, and it breaks down the paper into small pieces.

2: The mixture of paper along with chemicals and water is heated in order to break it down into a mushy pulp. The pulp is then screened to remove adulterants such as metal or plastic waste. For this operation, screens with holes of various shapes and sizes are used. It is then spun into large, cylindrical containers, where large particles of contaminants are thrown out of the container by spinning, and small particles, if present, will be collected at the center of the container.

3: Now comes the process of de-inking, to remove printing ink and adhesive deposits left in the pulp. Sometimes, de-inking can be combination of two processes, such as flotation and washing. Heavy particles are taken off through air bubbles, which is called floating, and small deposits are removed by rinsing with water, which is called washing. During floating, the pulp is mixed with air and transported into the flotation cell, where ink and sticky deposits detach from the pulp and float on the top of the mixture with air bubbles. The foam created due to sticky and contaminated air bubbles is separated, thus leaving clean pulp in the container.

4: Next comes the process of refining, where the pulp is beaten in order to inflate the fibers. This process will also separate large chunks of fibers into small particles. Chemicals for removal of coloring material on the paper are added for getting the dye off the pulp. The next step is dependent on the type of paper being produced. For instance, if you are making brown paper, you do not need to bleach it, however, if you are making white paper, you will need to bleach the pulp to give it a bright, white look.

5: Recycled pulp can be used alone, or it can be blended with other pulp, such as wood, banana or bamboo, to enhance its toughness. The pulp is passed on to the headbox, from where it is sprayed onto a flat wire screen in the form of a continuous stream. The screen separates water particles by draining and the remaining pulp fibers adhere to form a continuous stretch. The remaining water is removed through rollers by pressing the pulp. The finished paper is then rolled into bundles and taken to warehouse for storage, and then converted into different shapes, such as envelopes or loose pages.

This simple process can save countless trees if practiced by a multitude!