What happens to my recycled paper & cardboard?
Paper and cardboard are two of the most widely recycled materials there are. The positive environmental impact of paper recycling and cardboard recycling is unquestionable and is something we can all get involved in.
So how do waste management and recycling work? Dropping your old paper and cardboard into the recycling bin is just the beginning. In our article, we explain what happens when your recycling gets taken away, how it is treated and the products created using the raw materials.
When your recycling gets taken to a waste transfer station, the paper is sorted and separated in a process known as grading – this involves studying the length of the fibres to determine the quality. Paper can be recycled many times over but will degrade each time it goes through the process. Cardboard tends to be made of recycled materials but is sorted based on single-layer sheets (box-board) or corrugated sheets.
Once the materials have been cleaned, they are shredded and fed into a large drum where water is added to create a liquid slurry. This process known as pulping involves heating the substance to break the material down to the fibres – making it easier to mould into something new. It will then undergo a filtering process to remove ink, glue and any foreign objects like staples.
The material is largely made up of water at this point, so it is put through rollers to dry out and make it malleable. Paper will be pressed and cut into thin sheets ready to be redistributed. If new cardboard is being formed, then the rollers will also be used to press multiple sheets together to make them as thick as necessary.
What products are made through paper recycling and cardboard recycling?
Below are just some examples of the products made with recycled materials, based on their grading:
High-grade recycling products:
- Tissue paper
Low-grade recycling products:
- Toilet paper
By recycling excess paper and cardboard, everyone can reduce their carbon footprint and have an environmental impact. If you want to do your bit, then make sure you always recycle through the proper channels. When you use a licenced waste management service, such as Lee’s Waste Solutions, you know your recycling is in safe hands.