Paper is amongst the most recyclable of products out there. On this page, we are going to take a little look at the recycling process of paper; right from the collection of the paper all the way through to the recycled outcome.
Depending on where you live, you may have recycling collected from your home on a regular basis. If you do not, it is likely that there are a few paper recycling sites in your local area for you to use. The paper will be collected and sent to a paper mill.
In the paper mill, the paper will be mixed into a huge tank. It will be mixed up with a few different chemicals; the most common of these being caustic soda and hydrogen peroxide. It is also going to be mixed with good old soap and water. The job of these chemicals will be to pulp the paper down (basically squish it all up), and then spate all of the fibres.
The paper pulp will now be analysed to check to make sure that it is only paper. This is the point where all of the ‘non-paper’ items are removed i.e. tape, staples, and paperclips.
At this point, the paper will still have ink on it. It will, therefore, be sent to a floatation tank. Here the fibres of the paper will be cleaned. They go through this process multiple times to ensure that they are completely ink free. At the end of it all, whitening agent will be added to the mixture to make sure everything is brilliant white.
All of that mixing up will now mean that the paper is mostly water. In fact, 90% of it is water. The paper mill will, therefore, need to start to dry it all out. To do this, the fibres will be passed through a machine which vibrates. It will then be passed through rollers. This will remove the majority of the water. The paper will also start to form a sheet. It is getting closer to the final product.
The next step will involve the paper sheets being passed through a special set of heated rollers. The job of these rollers will be to start to reduce the water content even further. The rollers will also turn the paper fibres into almost usable paper.
Finally, the paper will be rolled through one final set of rollers to completely dry it out. It will then be rolled onto a huge roll, kind of like wrapping paper, but weighing close to thirty tons. The paper will be checked and then cut down into usable paper.
Paper recycling processes have improved drastically over the years. Whilst recycled paper is not quite up to the standard of ‘freshly-made paper’, it is closer than ever before. Many companies nowadays have actually turned over to the idea of only using recycled paper simply because it is of such a high quality. It also helps to protect the environment!
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