Most times than often, we throw away paper into our waste bins without having a second thought about it, not even stopping to think that we can make use of it, and recycle this precious waste paper ourselves, into something creative and maybe valuable to us. Believe it or not, recycling paper has been going on around the world for more than 2000 years. The United States has been recycling paper for as long as 100 years now! So, here we are going to talk about the key 10 steps of recycling paper.
So think about it, why can’t we too, help a bit in our own homes by recycling paper?
Too much trouble and best left for those huge paper Industries to dabble with?
No. definitely not, you too can recycle your paper at home without much difficulty or trouble.
You will definitely be able to eliminate some household waste like those useless and never-ending flow of junk mail you keep getting daily in your post, the computer printer paper, wrapping paper, etc., so much in your own home that can be recycled, and you can even create something beautiful and unique and call it your own handiwork.
Here is something very small that you can start off at home.
10 steps of recycling paper – This is what you will need for making your own new recycled paper;
Collect some Waste paper – (don’t take the glossy magazines, and don’t take your father’s precious office papers!)
Water, A blender or food processor will work fine for recycling
An old picture frame, mesh or screen
Cloth or sponge, a large bin to hold water
For decorations, some dried flowers, confetti, seeds, or color papers
What you should do?
- Tear the paper into small pieces and put this into the blender adding warm water. Blend until the mixture is a smooth pulp, just like a real smoothie drink that your Mum would prepare for breakfast! But don’t drink the pulp juice!
- Attach the mesh to the picture frame with staples or duct tape, see that the frame is strong and secure.
- Pour the pulp mixture into your bin, and then sink the mold into the water. Pull the mold up, and you will see that the pulp covers the screen. To this, you can add your decorative dried flowers, color paper and or the confetti. After that cover it again with pulp to cover the decorations this will make it adhere to the paper.
- Use a cloth or a sponge to press out the excess water. Now keep it aside and let it dry on the screen for a day. Turn it over and let the other side dry as well. After that, you can peel it away and you have your first recycled paper ready for use. Super cool right? Now go and make your first green greeting card for your friend.
The Importance of the paper recycling process
Recycling of paper is very important to us because of the important role it has and plays to protect our environment, not forgetting our health which is our wealth as well! We all know and have seen how municipal waste is collected and dumped at large landfill sites and how it stinks, and how bad it is for our health.
So it is very important that we learn from our young days how vital it is to dispose of recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, and glass properly, so as to prevent it from getting into a landfill and polluting the environment and making it a health hazard and danger for people living in the vicinity. It is indeed very fortunate that there are numerous methods and ways of disposing waste paper into a recycling process leaving a cleaner environment and safer way of disposing of waste paper and other recyclable material.
- Sorting and transportation
- Shredding and pulping
Step one is to collect
When taking into consideration the recycling of waste paper, you must follow these ten steps of recycling paper. First and foremost, we must remember that paper has to be collected, this can start from you and your home, vicinity, businesses and or shops industries, so many places for you to collect your recycling stuff. Both recyclers and paper merchants collect this waste paper and combine it into a large recycling container/bin.
Step Two Sorting and transportation
So, after everything is collected, and sorted out and separated into groups. The ones that will go into the sorting bin, and those that will be discarded and selected out of all the recycling material, this will be the ones that will not be recycled, stuff like plastic, metal, and other trash has to be weeded out of the recycling bin. Remove all paper that is contaminated with food particles.
Once the recycling paper has been sorted and selected and put aside, carefully tie them into bundles. These bundles are now carefully measured and graded for quality, after which it is then transported to the recycling plant or warehouse/store. Here it will be weighed for quantity and quality after all this is done; you will be issued with a purchase receipt. After that, it will be further sorted out based on the surface treatment and its structure like when the thin paperweight newspapers are sorted out separately and will be stored until it is taken in for processing to the Pulper which is the next step of its process. After which it is taken on large conveyor belts for its next step of processing.
Step three – shredding, pulping and screening
The pulper is a large tank that is filled with water and chemicals. The paper is then chopped into tiny pieces (like bread crumbs) and then heated in the vat. This enables it to turn it to cellulose fibers into mush. (A soft wet pulpy mass), hm. Something like porridge! (Not to be eaten!).
This mushy pulp is then screened and the pulp is pushed through this screen that has holes and slots in different shapes and sizes. After this screening project, the pulp gets cleaned for any suspected contaminants by the spinning and churning mush mixture. Heavier objects and stuff like staples and clips, plastic pins are all flung from the cylinder cone-shaped vats. Only the lighter particles gather in the center from where it is removed.
Step four – De-inking and Drying Process
Deinking means when the paper is allowed to be removed from all its ink work. So soon, after this process is over, the pulp has to go through another process called the de-inking phase. This is the time when the glues, residues and adhesives and the printing ink are removed. De-inking is a two-step process and involves in the washing and rinsing of the pulp with water, which then removes the ink and its particles.
However, the large and sticky particles may need to be processed with the flotation process. To do this, the pulp is put in a floatation tank in which the air and chemicals which are known as surfactants are added. The ink and other particles then get attached to the air particles and float to the top surface where they are then removed. This is called the dirt or scum that gathers on top of the water. This scum has to be removed.
In bleaching, the paper has to be treated well to remove all the color particles from the mush. Then if you need white paper it has to be made with the use of hydrogen peroxide, oxygen or chlorine dioxide to bleach it. If the cardboard is to be made then the pulp is not bleached.
After the pulp is bleached it is then sprayed onto a wire screen. This is then drained off the water and then these bonds the recycled fibers to form a watery paper sheet. This watery sheet is then pressed through a number of press rollers to remove all the water.
There are more things to consider…
After that, it is dried well using a heated metal roller and wound into large rolls. Each roll can be as wide as 30 feet and weigh as much as 20 tons; the paper is now recycled and ready for use and transportation to the shops.
Recycling paper is the best way to save our planet and environment. This also helps to save the trees and protect its environment and atmosphere. Nearly 80% of the paper we use can be recycled and used.
China and the United States produce cardboard globally, half of this is done from China. It is mentioned that 70 million metric tons of paper are consumed by the American people which is about 515 pounds per person. While the United Kingdom’s usage rate is said to be nearly 13 million metric tons in 2000, this rate, however, has now decreased to 9.1 million metric tons which are about 305 pounds per person in the year 2015.
While most of this paper can be recycled and reused as paper and as the most recyclable valuable material, it cannot, however, be done over and over again and many times as, after some time it reaches a point that it can no longer be recycled because of the shortening of the fibers each time it is recycled.
Crucial facts about gathering waste paper…
Waste paper can be gathered from paper mill scraps, discarded paper waste after it has been used. Stuff like old magazines, newspapers, white printer paper, cardboard and packaging papers. Bear in mind that each metric ton of recycled paper can save approximately 19 trees, which can absorb 127 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year. At the same time, 1500 liters of oil, 2.68 cubic meters of landfill space and 4400 kilowatts of energy and 29,000 liters of water can be saved. Amazing right? So about 150 million metric tons of paper and cardboard are dropped in landfills or incinerated each year. While the balance of 63% to 67% is of produced paper is recovered.
If every country on this Planet pulled up their socks and thought about the environment and its pollution then BOOM Baby! You can achieve a 100% paper recovery of a recycling rate of about 2.5 billion trees that can be saved in a year.
The Process of Recycling Paper
The processing of recycling paper is the same, whether it is done at home or at a recycling plant. But keep in mind there are some steps that can be added or omitted depending on the quality of recycled paper either lightweight newspaper which requires only a few steps than the thick cardboard boxes.
To remove some of the contaminants in paper then more additional steps will have to be followed. Stuff like bisphenol A, phthalates, phenols, mineral oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and toxic metals, etc.
The time consumed for the recycling of newspapers takes about 7 days and it is said that paper can be recycled only about 7 times after which it loses its quality or strength. This is unfortunate that we can recycle paper only about 7 times. As you go on and on recycling the paper the fibers life is shortened more and more each time that it is recycled and after processing it to its maximum limit which is 7 times, sadly, like all good things that come to an end, so does the recycled paper comes to the end of its recycling age. Egg cardboard boxes etc; can no longer be expected to be recycled.
So then the next question is how do we dispose of these items? Well, the best way is to dispose of these products is in an environmentally friendly way. Use it as compost in and around your garden and surroundings which will fertilize the land and your plants and trees. Easy peasy, right?
Recycled Paper Products
We may not be aware, but we do use lots of recycled products in our homes and offices, etc., It is estimated that about 200 million tons of paper and cardboard are produced annually from recycled paper. These things can be used and made again into newer products. The most used product is a white paper, toilet paper and tissues, paper towels, etc., napkins, greeting cards, cardboard and magazine, and newspapers.
If you are doing a paper recycling business it is important to find out with your recycling company which types of paper products are used or can be recycled and which ones are discarded. Paper plates and used towels cannot be recycled because of their food particles. However, there are some paper products that can be made for the use of compost which can be used for manure in your garden, or by the local municipality in your locality.
Here are some tips that you may want to use to increase the recyclability of recovered/recycled paper.
There are some products of paper like paper lined with plastic that is found in frozen food boxes, and milk and juice cartons that are used in limited quantities.
Before giving for recycling, remember to remove the information on the box by using a black marker pen instead of tearing up the paper on the box or carton. Shredding paper destroys the fiber length, and this will shorten the life span of it being recycled.
Break up your large boxes to save room in the bin. Do not keep the bin where it will get wet and get caught to strong wind rain and moist elements as this will reduce the quality of the paper. If you are able to wash and rinse the bottles and containers it is good before adding it to the recycling bin. Remember to dry them properly otherwise the rest of the paper in the bin will get damp. Store in a place where it does not get moist or wet, away from the rains.
There are many companies and local authority councils that will collect all materials for recycling on a day and date they come for collection. Most companies collect these materials once a week. Check with your local authority as to when to collect it or to take it to the appointed place.
In several countries, there are people who use recycle paper and design picture frames, flower vases, and other creative artwork, all this from recycled paper.
About one billion trees are used for papermaking in the United States. So it is very important and imperative that we cultivate the method of recycling waste paper, as every piece of paper, envelope, newspaper that is recycled means a lesser landfill.
People are now getting the idea of going green and recycling is the new way of doing business and of course, the “in thing” for many companies and so many businesses are going green with envy! So to speak! At all the innovative ideas and some companies have even started going paperless! So if you have any ideas about recycling don’t be afraid to stand up and speak up your thoughts and opinions for the company you work for, so as to put your own valuable two cents worth of green print and save your workplace lots of money and also show that your company is a supersonic and responsible company.