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Recycled paper What is it + 7 benefits

Papel reciclado con color natural.

Recycled paper is paper that is turned back into paper. The best paper to use is 100% post-consumer recycled paper, which is made from scraps of paper that the consumer can no longer use for its intended purpose, and which is turned back into paper

This paper, which will become recycled paper, is collected from offices, homes and industries by municipalities and waste paper merchants

To answer the question“What is recycled paper?” it should be noted that paper that is only labeled“recycled” does not mean that this paper is made from scrap paper that is put out for recycling

Normally the defective paper at the mill is either run back through the mill or the pulp is recycled which is the same methodology for making virgin paper

For paper to be truly recycled, it must be 100% post-consumer recycled, i.e. made from paper that has left the mill and has been used for a purpose and can no longer be used for the intended purpose. This paper is then collected and recycled into paper again, thus obtaining recycled paper.

Plain paper is sometimes called “virgin paper” because it is made from trees that have been specially cut for use in paper production

The wood is cut and shipped to mills where it is pulped and made into paper. Recycled paper, on the other hand, is made from other paper waste.

Papel para papel reciclado de distintos tipos.
Different types of paper that can be used for recycling

Contrary to what most people think, not all types of paper can be used for recycling. Below is a list of which types of paper can be used for recycling and which cannot

Types of paper that can be recycled

  • All office paper
  • Colored paper
  • White paper
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Telephone directories
  • Catalogs
  • Tissue boxes
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Cardboard
  • Unwaxed food containers
  • Paper beverage cartons
  • Shredded paper – however, since shredding paper shortens the fibers and decreases the quality of the paper, some recyclers may not accept it
  • Soft cover books
  • Paper coffee cups without lids

Types of paper that should not be used for recycling

As we have mentioned, not every type of paper is suitable to be sent for recycling, for different reasons. These are the types of paper that are not recommended to be thrown in recycling garbage cans

  • Wax paper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Paper towels
  • Tissue paper
  • Napkins
  • Any paper contaminated with body fluids, food, grease or oil
  • Wet paper
Proceso de obtención del papel reciclado.

Collection and transportation of recycled paper

This is the first process in the process of obtaining recycled paper.

This important step involves the collection of recyclable paper. It involves the collection of waste paper from various points such as the home, offices and around the company. Paper recyclers and paper merchants collect paper materials from collection points such as garbage garbage cans, paper stores, recycling paper depots and commercial establishments that generate paper waste.

Recyclers collect this paper waste and deposit it in a large recycling garbage can. The paper is collected from the paper garbage can and deposited in the large recycling container along with the paper from the other recycling garbage cans.

Once collected, it is measured, sorted according to quality and transported to the paper recycling facility. It is then transported to a recycling plant where the waste paper is sorted and separated into types and grades.

The transportation of recycled paper also has an environmental impact.

Sorting paper for recycling

At the recycling plant, the papers are sorted and separated. This process helps to identify the papers that would be recycled and those that need to be discarded. At this stage, all other external materials from the paper collection (such as staples and other metal components) are also removed

Once accepted at the recycling facility, the papers are sorted again based on the quantity and value of the paper, evaluating the materials that were used to make the paper. In most cases, papers are sorted according to their surface treatment and structure.

For example, very thin and light paper materials, such as newspapers, are placed separately from thick paper materials, such as those used as paper folders. Sorting is important because paper mills produce different grades of recycled paper materials depending on the materials being recovered.

Paper shredding and pulping

Once sorting is completed, the next step is shredding, followed by pulping. Shredding is performed to break down the paper materials into small pieces. Once the material is finely shredded, it is mixed with water and chemicals to break down the paper fiber materials.

This turns the paper materials into a slurry substance, a process called pulping. At this point it undergoes a heating process that turns it into pulp. Typically, recycling companies use equipment called an extractor for the pulping process. And this is done by adding water and chemicals such as caustic soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Screening process

At this point, the pulpy mass is sieved. The pulp is fed into sieves with space and holes of different shapes and sizes. The purpose of this process is to remove contamination from the pulp. Unwanted objects are also filtered out.

Paper de-inking

This stage does not always occur. It depends on the paper and occurs when the paper has some ink on it. During this part of the process of obtaining recycled paper, we make sure to remove all printing ink, adhesives and glue inside the paper.

Once the pulp is produced, it is passed through a series of screens to remove the larger pieces of contaminants, for example: inks, staples, plastic films and glue. The pulp material is then mixed with new pulp to help the pulp substance solidify and form a firmer final product. The cleaned paper pulp is then placed in the machine which uses centrifugal cleaning to spin more of the pulp stock.

The pulp substance then undergoes a thorough filtering process to remove any non-fibrous foreign materials present or any impurities such as string, tape or glue. Light materials, such as plastics, float to the top, while heavy materials, such as metals, fall to the bottom for removal.

Typically, the company accomplishes this through two steps. The first involves mechanical actions such as washing and rinsing the pulp with water. The second involves making use of chemical additives to remove ink traces. However, this can only work for small ink prints.

Usually, for more massive inks, a process called flotation is useful. Here, air bubbles are used to remove the ink particles. The ink and other particles stick to the air bubbles. They then float to the top, from where they can be removed.

Paper bleaching

This stage is relevant when it is intended to produce a white recycled paper. At this stage, hydrogen peroxide is used to increase brightness, purity and whiteness. Oxygen or chlorine dioxide can also be used. However, if it is to be recycled into paperboard, it is not necessary to subject the pulp to the bleaching process.

Alternatively, it may be produced from paper with dyes. Then, you may want to add bleaching materials to the fibers to remove the dyes from the paper.

This whole step is also called the bleaching process, as it cleans the pulp over and over again to ensure that it is ready for the final processing stage.

Laminating process

This is the final stage of the whole process to obtain recycled paper. Here the clean pulp is prepared to start processing it into new paper.

However, it would be best to be very cautious at this point. This is because you will have to mix the paper pulp with chemicals and hot water. However, the hot water added should be a much larger quantity than the pulp and chemicals

This mixture is then gradually fed into a machine with press rolls. This ensures that all forms of moisture are removed from the pulp. A heated metal roller is then used to completely dry the pulp sheet.

The cleaned pulp is mixed with new production materials, after which it is dried on a flat conveyor belt and heated cylindrical surfaces.

As the pulp dries, it passes through an automated machine that presses out excess water. When the pulp is solid, it is passed through steam-heated cylinders that facilitate the formation of long flattened rolls of continuous sheets of paper.

Finally, when the water is completely drained off, a renewed sheet of paper is obtained. This sheet of paper can then be cut into the desired shapes and sizes.

The resulting sheets of paper are trimmed, rolled and shipped to various stores or manufacturers who use the paper to make their products. Newspaper printing, wrapping papers, printing papers and blown cellulose insulation are some examples of areas where recycled paper is used.

We can distinguish basically two types of recycled paper. By recycled paper we mean paper that is truly recycled, since there are papers that contain only a percentage of recycled paper

Post-consumer recycled paper

The most common type is post-consumer recycled paper, which is manufactured from other paper products such as newspapers, junk mail, documents and cardboard containers that have been collected from individuals or companies. The paper is pulped and sometimes bleach is added to remove the color. It is then converted into recycled paper.

Pre-consumer recycled paper

Pre-consumer recycled paper is made from paper products that have not been used previously, either because they have not been sold or because they have not been needed. These are products such as cardboard boxes, magazines, newspapers and books

These products are collected from warehouses or stores, pulped and possibly bleached. They are then converted into recycled paper for use by companies, schools, charities, etc.

Due to environmental concerns, the number of products made from recycled paper has increased rapidly

Many paper products are now made from recycled paper, from toilet paper to greeting cards. Recycled paper products can be made from 100% recycled paper or, more commonly, can be made from a mixture of new and recycled paper.

Recycled office and printing paper

Both printer and copier paper can be made from recycled paper. Recycled printer and copier paper is available in a wide range of colors.

Every 20 boxes of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 1476 liters of oil, 26500 liters of water and 4,100 kWh of energy. It also eliminates 28 kilograms of air pollutant emissions and saves 0.22 cubic meters of landfill space.”

Toilet paper and tissues

Papel higiénico fabricado con papel reciclado.

Buying recycled toilet paper and tissues is one of the greenest purchasing decisions you can make and one of the most environmentally beneficial

Like most products made from recycled paper, recycled toilet paper and tissues are available in both bright white and “natural” colors

It is recommended not to purchase white, or bleached paper products, as the chlorine used in bleaching the paper has a detrimental effect on the environment

Napkins and hand towels

Paper towels and napkins are a big waste. A cloth rag can be used for many household tasks over a long period of time, while a paper towel can only be used once

Similarly, cloth napkins are preferable to paper napkins because they can be used for hundreds of meals, while paper napkins can only be used for one. However, buying recycled paper towels and napkins is still a good way to reduce energy costs.

Cardboard for packaging

Cardboard, which is used to make products such as cereal boxes and cookies, can be made from recycled paper. Packaging board can also be made from 100% recycled paper. If you are interested in saving energy, choose supermarket packaging products made from recycled cardboard and buy recycled cardboard when packaging a product

Other products that can be made from recycled paper

Other items that can be made from recycled paper include egg cartons, newspapers, shopping bags, among many others. In addition to being used to make a large number of crafts of all kinds

7 Benefits of recycled paper

El papel reciclado favorece al medioambiente.

Here are some of the reasons why it is beneficial to use recycled paper

Reduced energy consumption

The process of producing paper from scratch consumes a lot of energy. However, this is not the case when it comes to recycled paper. In fact, recycling paper saves around 70% of energy.

So, if you’re still wondering why you should recycle, it’s simple: less energy consumption.

Reduced pollution

Recycled paper is great because it is an environmentally friendly option. When you decide to recycle paper, you avoid throwing paper away.

Normally, when paper is thrown away, it ends up in landfills. In turn, these landfills pollute the air by producing various toxic gases. So it’s very simple. If you choose to recycle, you save the world from landfill pollution.

Reducing greenhouse gases

Recycling reduces greenhouse emissions, another form of pollution. This is because a considerable amount of energy goes into the production of paper. And this process is prone to increase greenhouse gas emissions.

In contrast, obtaining recycled paper requires less energy. In turn, this ensures that there is less methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Also, in case you think this is not beneficial to you, you should know that it allows you to breathe better, as it improves air quality and therefore directly benefits your health

Forest conservation and reduction of deforestation

We agree that cutting down trees to make paper is unavoidable. Every year, hundreds of thousands of new trees are taken to the slaughterhouse to produce paper.

Well, recycling can significantly reduce this situation. It allows companies to use the trees that used to be continuously cut down. In this way, they will have less reason to cut down more trees.


On an environmental level, we avoid the massive destruction of forests and the impoverishment of the ecosystem in general

We save money

The whole process of cutting down trees is mostly tedious for paper manufacturers. There is the high cost of the machinery involved. Even the cost of labor. Well, with recycling they can avoid this and save costs.

Plus, as you know, recycling consumes less energy. And since energy requires a cost, less energy means less cost.

so how does it benefit the consumer? You may be asking yourself. The answer is simple, recycled paper has a lower cost, so it not only benefits the environment, but also our pocket

It generates jobs

Thanks to paper recycling, more jobs are created for people. Thanks to job creation, the economy experiences a great improvement as the recycled paper manufacturing sector grows. In turn, growth occurs in other industries.

Improving people’s quality of life

With the use of recycled paper, there is a reduction in landfill odor or water pollution. This is because recycling paper helps reduce gas emissions by approximately 74%. It also avoids water pollution emissions by approximately 35%. This translates into a better quality of life for both people and the rest of living beings and the planet in general

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