Our world is rich in resources, but many times we do not give them the value they should have. We must take actions, such as using recycled paper, to make the most of every natural product.
When recycling paper, cellulose from trees is reused, which, when processed, allows for the manufacture of paper derived from post-consumer waste such as: office paper, newspapers and magazines.
Using recycled paper is ideal for maintaining our forests and reducing the use of raw materials.
If you want to know a little more about recycled paper and its types, read on. Here we will discuss the recycling process, its characteristics and benefits, among other aspects.
Types of recycled paper you can find in stores
The use of recycled paper is an ecological alternative implemented to maintain the environment, among its types we have:
Recycled FSC paper
One of the main characteristics of this type of paper is that it is made from 100% recycled paper.
Forest Stewardship Council or FSC is a certification that indicates that the paper is part of environmentally friendly logging.
Recycled PEFC paper
This type of recycled paper is manufactured from recycled paper containing pre- and post-consumer fibres.
PEFC is a certification that authenticates that the logging is done in forests with sustainable surfaces.
Blue Angel Certificate
Like FSC paper, Blue Angel certified paper identifies the type with 100% recycled paper and its manufacture does not include the use of bleach.
This certificate does not limit water or energy consumption and only applies to products that reduce environmental pollution.
Certified Nordic Swan
The Nordic Swan certificate does not support the use of chemical compounds such as chlorine.
This type of paper is made with at least 25% virgin fiber from certified plantations, so it is not necessary to use recycled paper.
To obtain a recycled paper certified with the European ecolabel, it is required that 10% of the virgin fiber used comes from certified plantations.
It does not limit water or energy consumption and restricts the use of chlorine in the process, reducing pollution levels.
How is recycled paper made?
The process of making recycled paper begins in the recycling plants, giving way to the transformation of the material contained in the tanks treated with water at a high temperature that will result in a dense and mouldable pulp.
This pulp goes through a second treatment, in which the remains of ink it contains are removed through a flotation process.
After that, you will obtain a white pulp that will be treated through a pressing and drying process until you obtain sheets free of ink and humidity.
The paper obtained is rolled into reels and then used in the manufacture of the different types of paper we use every day.
This process is automated in the recycling plants for a few hours, so it would not be strange to have recycled paper just hours after the raw material has been inside the blue container.
Methodology for bleaching recycled paper
The methodology of bleaching recycled paper is a very important process, which does not affect the raw material or the environment.
Bleaching of recycled paper is done by three processes, namely
- Totally chlorine free or TCF: during this process no chlorine is used and it is made of virgin fiber paper.
- Chlorine or PCF free processing: no chlorine is used and it is done in recycled products.
- Elemental chlorine free paper or ECF: recycled paper must be free of elemental chlorine in order to be processed with chlorine dioxide.
Characteristics of recycled paper
Recycled paper has particular characteristics that are favorable, not only for people, but also for the environment.
Among the most important characteristics, we can mention
- It is a resistant material.
- It can be used for different purposes.
- It is possible to find different textures.
- The manufacturing process is environmentally friendly.
Uses of recycled paper
Recycled paper can be reused up to six times due to the presence of cellulose fibres. Its uses are varied and increasingly in demand.
Among the various uses of recycled paper we have
- Manufacture of boxes and packaging: to store and distribute products.
- Office material: such as sheets, folders, cardboard, paper, among others.
- Flower paper or green pencils: to sow the pieces containing seeds.
Benefits of recycled paper
The elaboration and processing of recycled paper brings with it a series of benefits that imply not only the reduction of the cutting of trees but also the saving of natural resources such as water, energy and the reduction of the use of polluting products.
It also helps to reduce the tons of paper that are deposited daily in the trash and can be processed in recycling plants.
Another benefit of recycled paper is related to maintaining the balance with the environment, since the presence of trees is indispensable for providing oxygen and absorbing gases that are harmful to health.
What kind of paper can be recycled?
The main material that is recycled is paper, which must be in suitable conditions for processing.
Paper or cardboard treated at recycling plants should be free of staples, grease, ink, or chemicals.
Everyday materials that can be processed for paper recycling are
- Cardboard boxes.
- Phone books.
- Continuous paper.
Is it important to recycle paper?
The importance of paper recycling is related to several aspects, which together allow the development of new opportunities.
The adequate use of resources, the reduction of indiscriminate felling that gives way to reforestation and the reduction of negative effects on the environment are some of the reasons for recycling paper.
Furthermore, it encourages the implementation and good use of industrial processes, characterized by a low ecological footprint.
Promote new actions that achieve a reduction in the use of paper, promoting recycling and its benefits.
Let’s make recycled paper at home!
This is an activity that you can do with the children at home and that will raise awareness about the importance of recycling.
These are the steps you must follow to recycle paper at home:
- Select the paper you have at home, it can be newspapers, magazines, brochures or envelopes.
- Cut the paper you have selected into thin strips.
- Soak the paper strips in a bucket of water for 2 hours.
- After waiting, put three parts of water to one part of paper in the blender and blend it until it forms a homogeneous paste.
- Place the pulp on a flat surface and knead it with a roller to obtain a thin mass.
- Then put the dough to dry and when the whole surface is dry you will have homemade recycled paper in your hands.
So that you can enjoy the process in detail, we leave you the video with the step by step to make various types of recycled paper at home.