With an ever-increasing focus on climate change and the environment, recycling has found its way to the center stage today. It’s no surprise then that an increasing number of people are turning to recycling as a profitable business venture, aided by the various incentives provided by government and environmental agencies.


Some Facts about Paper and Cardboard Recycling

– Recycling one ton of paper saves up to:

  • 31 trees
  • 4000 kWh and 10.2 million Btu’s of energy
  • Over 250 liters of oil
  • Over 25,000 liters of water
  • 3.5 cubic meters of landfill space

– For one ton of corrugated containers, recycling saves:

  • 390 kWh and 6.6 million Btu’s of energy
  • Over 175 liters of oil
  • 5 cubic meters of landfill space

– Incinerating 1 ton of paper produces up to 750 kg of carbon dioxide.

– Recycling paper reduces water and air pollution by 35% and 74% respectively.

– 75% and 65% less energy is required to recycle cardboard and paper respectively, vis-à-vis manufacturing new material.

Manufacturing vs. Recycling of Paper Products

Made from fibers called cellulose, paper is a highly versatile material used in every industry. Around the world, over 400 million tons of cardboard and paper are produced every year. Over half of this comes from recovered and recycled material, 50% of which is sourced from business and industry waste (paper trimmings, unsold magazines and newspapers, etc.).

It is not only financially beneficial to recycle cardboard and paper, but there are many environmental benefits to consider too. It scores heavily over traditional disposal methods, by reducing deforestation, landfill use and pollution. Hence, it is essential to stoke the demand for recycled material.

How is Paper Recycled?

The process of recycling paper follows these steps:

  1. 1. Sorting – First, a segregation of paper products is done, depending upon the composition and extent of deterioration. Some types of paper can be mixed while others cannot, based on the recycling process.
  2. 2. Baling – A baling machine is used to press paper into blocks, for easier handling and transportation. Cardboard balers are hydraulic machines specially designed for cardboard and corrugate recycling.
  3. 3. Shredding – This stage involves reducing the paper to shreds and creating pulp by mixing it with water.
  4. 4. Washing – A slush is created by washing and filtering the pulp to remove contaminants. Additives such as dyes and coatings can be introduced at this stage.

    If the ink is not removed from paper, it lends a grayish color to the pulp. It can be removed through washing (adding chemicals and washing with water), or flotation (passing air through to produce foam that absorbs the ink, and then skimming it off).

  5. 5. Bleaching –
    Hydrogen peroxide or Chlorine can be used to whiten the pulp at this stage.
  6. 6. Pressing – Sheets of paper pulp are pressed to remove water and maintain uniform thickness, and then run through heated rollers to dry completely.
  7. 7. Rolling –
  8. Large rolls of finished product are created, ready to be used once again.

Applications of Recycled Paper and Cardboard

Paper can typically be recycled about 4-6 times since the fibers shorten and degrade each time, but the introduction of virgin pulp helps maintain fiber quality and strength. Recycled paper finds application in packaging material (cereal boxes, egg cartons, etc.), as well as newsprint, tissues, pencil barrels, grocery bags and more.

Paper and cardboard recycling machines form the backbone of the process, so you need to invest in quality equipment. To find more about which compactor, baler or shredder is the right fit, get in touch with the experts at Compactor Management Company today!