Paper is truly recyclable.
Before the actual recycling process can begin, paper products that are to be recycled have to be sorted and then shredded. Once they have been shredded the next step is mix the shredded material with water creating a pulp. Any ink that was on the paper has to be removed and there are several methods of doing this.
The most common place method is called Floatation deinking. This process uses chemicals to create small bubbles and allow components like ink which is hydrophobic due to its oil based nature, to float to the top where it creates foam which can be skimmed off. In some cases dependent on the pulp specification a second stage floatation process is used.
The other method is called the washing process where a wire screen is used to catch ink and other elements such as minerals. This method tends to be most effective when there are only small particles of ink to be removed. The fibres are then bleached and the pulp is used to create new paper products.
Here are some facts about paper recycling.
- It is estimated that ink accounts for 2% of the total weight of paper being deinked
- Recycling has increased by 45% since 1998
- The global paper recycling rate stands at about 58% whereas some developed countries have achieved as high as 70-75%.
- However 20% of paper will never get recycled. This is because its uses prevent this. For example books that are kept for years, and tissue and hygiene products that are disposed of differently.
We would like to thank Two sides and Green Print for their wealth of information on this topic.