Society may never be truly paperless, no matter how hard everyone tries. Whilst workplaces and offices have minimised the use of paper and paper products in their daily operations, the more attainable goal would be to make recycling waste paper and other similar products a way of life.
In the UK and other parts of the world, cardboard products and other waste paper are being processed for recycling and repurposing.
What Can Be Recycled?
Many people do not know that waste paper can be recycled almost in full. These include old magazines and newspapers, as well as wrapping and packaging paper. Corrugated paper used in cartons can likewise be recycled at designated recycling facilities. They are collected from various sites regularly. This way, people know when to bring the paper products they have collected for repurposing or recycling.
How Does the Recycling Process Work?
The recycling process varies. It starts with waste paper collection at scrap yards, stores, trash bins and offices. They are sorted and graded depending on quality before being brought to the recycling plant. At the plant, the paper is further sorted and checked. Some facilities only accept certain types of grades of paper, and those that do not meet the criteria are rejected and sent somewhere else.
After sorting, the water is shredded to break down the material into fine pieces. Mixing them with water and chemicals further breaks down the paper fibre, resulting in a slurry. This process is often called ‘pulping’ since the aim is to turn the paper materials into a pulpy mixture. The pulp is then screened until it is clean, and it is filtered a few more times to remove ink, plastic and other impurities.
Once the pulp is clean, the recyclers will blend it with new materials, and then dry and flatten it. It is eventually transformed into new rolls of paper for different uses. In some cases, the pulp is not fully cleaned, and this results in darker-coloured paper or newsprint. These are used for wrapping or turned into grocery bags or paper bags.
There are plenty of uses for recycled paper. What is important is that recycling helps rid the streets of litter and minimises the number of trees that are cut for paper manufacturing.