Recycled Paper Manufacturing: The Processes Involved

18th November 2022

Paper is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world. Nearly 80 percent of the paper we use can be recycled - be it copier paper, envelopes, newspapers, notebooks, magazines or even receipts. Although, it is not easy to recycle shredded paper since they can get caught in the complex machinery of a recycling facility and slow down the process.

Since the global reliance on paper and paper products has only kept increasing, it is imperative that we look to a more sustainable manufacturing process that incorporates recycled paper products as much as possible.

Recycling each metric tonne (1,000 kg) of paper helps in saving approximately:

  • 19 trees that can absorb 127 kg of carbon dioxide each year

  • 29,000 litres of water

  • 1,500 litres of oil

  • 2.68 cubic metres of landfill space

  • 4,400 kilowatts of energy

However, there is a limit to the number of times paper can be recycled. During the recycling process, individual paper fibres get increasingly shortened after each cycle. They can therefore be recycled a maximum of seven times.

Processes Involved in Recycling Paper

Shredding, Pulping and Screening:

Once paper has been properly sorted and screened for debris, it is baled together and sent to paper mills. 

At the mills, paper is then shredded using water and chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate. This process helps in breaking down paper into thin paper fibres. At the end of this process, we are left with pulp - the raw material required for manufacturing recycled paper. 

This pulp is then screened for paperclips, staples and tape. 99 percent of ink and glue is removed from the pulp during this stage.

De-inking and Whitening:

This process involves the extraction of ink from the pulp using a floatation tank which is filled with chemicals and air bubbles. The ink particles stick to the air bubbles that float to the surface which can then be skimmed. This process enhances the purity and whiteness of the pulp.

Dyes can also be added at this stage to create coloured paper.

The pulp, which is approximately 99 percent water and one percent fibre, is then transferred to a paper machine.

90 percent of the residue produced during this process is put to agricultural use or used as a raw material to produce cement and bricks, thereby making this process highly sustainable.

Drying:

This is the final step in the paper recycling process. The deinked pulp is passed through massive rollers to squeeze out excess water from the mixture. This water is then collected, recycled and treated before being released.

After removing the moisture, the pulp is then sent through heated rollers and wound into giant rolls of paper. Each roll can be as wide as 30 feet and weigh about 20 tonnes. 

These rolls of paper are then sent to various manufacturers to be produced into paper products.

Environmental Impact of Regular Paper Manufacturing

Recycling is the urgent need of the hour since manufacturing regular paper is extremely harmful for the environment.

  • Manufacturing regular paper utilises nearly 40 percent of the world's commercially cut timber. Millions of acres of forest land are destroyed, disturbing the ecological balance.

  • In addition to deforestation, paper production also causes other environmental hazards due to the use of excessive amounts of energy, contributing to air and water pollution.

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are all emitted during the paper manufacturing process that wreak havoc on the air quality. NOx and SOx are major contributors of acid rain, while CO2 is responsible for climate change.

  • The waste water discharged from paper mills contains solids, nutrients and dissolved organic matter such as lignin. It also contains alcohols, chelating agents and inorganic materials like chlorates and transition metal compounds.

  • Additionally, to produce a single sheet of A4-sized paper, anywhere between 2-13 litres of water are required!

  • Paper accounts for around 26 percent of total waste at landfills.

Conclusion

It is therefore environmentally sustainable to recycle paper - and this is what drives us at Rescript. Our vision is to make recycled paper a consumer’s first preference, and our mission is to save 30,000 trees and 6 crore litres of water by 2025!

Join us on our sustainability mission! Make the switch to recycled paper today! Visit our store


Subscribe to our newsletter to
get 10% off your first purchase!

You have subscribed successfully
You already subscribed!
Item has been removed from Cart