You’ve placed all your paper, cans, plastic and glass in your recycling can, and it’s ready to get picked up by your collection company. What next? What exactly do they do with, in particular, all the paper you were able to recycle this past week?
First, the items are sorted from each other. From there, the paper is further sorted into different grades and will eventually be transferred to a mill for processing. At this point the paper is shredded and mixed into pulp. This pulp, a mixture of paper, water and chemicals, eventually break down into fibers. From here, the mixture can be pressed through a screen to remove any large particles or contaminants, and move on to the cleaning and ink removing process. Finally, the pulp fibers start to bond together, and are ready to be made into new paper products.
There are so many things your paper could become! These include books, magazines, copy paper, egg cartons, paper plates, construction paper, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and napkins. Your paper product may have started as a magazine, but could become a newspaper in its second life.
Paper is essential to the recycling process, since it is so versatile and can be recycled again and again. Purchasing products made from recycled content (that can be recycled yet again) further helps the environment and adds to a sustainable lifestyle.