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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paper recycling

Paper recycling

Paper is one of the most important materials used in homes, schools, offices, and businesses throughout the world. The newspaper we read in the morning, the box that holds our cereal, the paper we use for homework and business purposes and other documents that mark the significant achievements all contribute to our quality of daily life.

Paper is made up of plant fibres called cellulose, which are found in wood. Cellulose must be converted into pulp before being used to manufacture paper. Another potential source of cellulose is recovered paper for recycling.

The word 'paper' is actually derived from the word papyrus, which is the natural reed used by the early Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Papyrus was one of the many materials used for early historical documentation.This material paved the way for current materials we now use.

The Chinese were the first paper makers, using a combination of rags, fishing net, and China grass. Over the centuries the use of paper became widespread throughout the world. With the invention of printing press, the books became readily available and less expensive. The first newspaper, primarily made from rags, began to surface in the 17th century.

More paper, if measured by weight, is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than all glass, plastic, and aluminium combined. Regardless of where the recycling process starts, it is important what materials can be recovered in our community and how to prepare them for recycling.

After being collected, the recovered paper is transfered to a recycling center. Once it is properly sorted and free of contamination, it is compacted into a large bales and transported to a paper mill where the recycling begins.

To start the papermaking process using fibre, the fibre is shredded and mixed with water to make a pulp. The pulp is washed , refined, cleaned and then turned to slush in a beater.

The paper recovered from recycling is categorised into grades. Each grade of paper has it's own characteristics, as well as it's own value to manufactures. Generally, the category includes corrugated (cardboard), newsprint, mixed (different colours and types), and office paper. The lower grades, such as corrugated and newsprint go back into the same new product. Higher grades like the high quality fibres found in offices and schools, go back into printing and writing paper.

Paper recycling can be started in our own community and schools and has already become quite popular at both places.


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