How is old paper recycled into new paper?

The recycling process can begin at any number of locations, including community curbside programs, drop-off centers, schools, or offices.

After the paper is collected, it is transferred to a recycling center or Material Recovery Facility (MRF), where contaminants such as glass, plastics and metals are removed. Once the recovered paper is free of contaminants, it is baled and transported to a paper mill where the recycling process begins.

To begin the papermaking process using recovered fiber, the fiber is shredded and mixed with water to make a pulp. The pulp is washed, refined, and cleaned, then turned to slush in a beater. Color dyes and other additives are mixed in, and the pulp slush is pumped onto a large moving screen. Computers and special sensors monitor each step of the papermaking process.

As the pulp travels down the screen, water is drained away and recycled. The resulting crude paper sheet, also known as web, is pressed between massive rollers to extract most of the remaining water and to ensure smoothness and uniform thickness. The semidry web is then run through heated dryer rollers to remove any remaining water.

The finished paper is then wound into large rolls, which can be 30 feet wide and weigh close to 25 tons. A slitter cuts the paper into smaller, more manageable rolls, and the paper is ready for use in your school, workplace, and community.