About Recycled Paperboard

You will find a wealth of information regarding recycled paperboard and more at the organizations below. Our industry nurtures an environment where the rate of paper recovery continually increases. According to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), in 2011, 66.8 percent of all paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, nearly doubling our rate of paper recovery since 1990. Of that, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2010 85% of all corrugated cardboard in the US was recovered for recycling.

Benefits of Paper Recycling

The environmental benefits of paper recycling are many. Paper recycling:

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that can contribute to climate change by avoiding methane emissions and reducing energy required for a number of paper products.
  • Extends the fiber supply and contributes to carbon sequestration.
  • Saves considerable landfill space.
  • Reduces energy and water consumption.
  • Decreases the need for disposal (i.e., landfill or incineration which decreases the amount of CO2 produced).

Recycling one ton of paper would:

  • Save enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
  • Save 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent (MTCE).

How is paper recycled by recycled paperboard mills?

Recycled paper processing mills use paper as their feedstock. The recovered paper is combined with water in a large vessel called a pulper that acts like a blender to separate fibers in the paper sheets from each other. The resultant slurry then passes through screens and other separation processes to remove contaminants such as clays, dirt, plastic and metals. The amount of contaminants that are acceptable in the pulp depends upon the type of paper being produced. Mechanical separation equipment includes coarse and fine screens, centrifugal cleaners, and dispersion or kneading units that break apart ink particles.

Recovered fiber can be used to produce new paper products made entirely of recovered fiber (i.e. 100 percent recycled content) or from a blend of recovered and virgin fiber. Fiber cannot, however, be recycled endlessly. It is generally accepted that a fiber can be used five to seven times before it becomes too short (as a result of repulping and other handling) to be useable in new paper products. Recovered paper with long cellulose fibers (such as office paper) has the greatest flexibility for recycling as it can be used to produce new paper products that use either long or short fibers. Recovered paper with short cellulose fibers (such as newspaper) can only be recycled into other products that use short cellulose fibers. For this reason, recovered paper with long fibers is generally of higher value than recovered paper with short fiber.

Click here to see the companies that use the paper you recycle.


LATEST NEWS

RPTA Announces 2021 Scholarship Recipients
Click here for details.

2021 Summer Webinar
On July 21, 2021, the RPTA Operating Board hosted a webinar on Brown Fiber Re-Pulping and Reject Handling Best Practices.

Presented by Steven Johnson, Applications Engineer, Kadant Black Clawson, and moderated by Dave Pearson, General Manager, Westrock.

The Webinar recording and a pdf file of the slides are available at this member-only site.

Industry Profile Study
The 2021 Industry Profile Study Report has been published for RPTA membership . It includes results from 204 samples, off 62 machines at 47 mills.

Members can access the 2021 Profile Study Report, along with reports from prior years, by clicking here.

RPTA Certification of Member Mills
RPTA continues the certification program first implemented in 2018 for RPTA member mills. RPTA uses a rigorous auditing process conducted by NSF to assure members and brand owners that products produced by certified mills are suited for direct food contact packaging applications. For more information, click here.

For a complete list of certified mills, click here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

2022 Winter Webinar
The Operating Board is tentatively planning a webinar on Building a Training Program from Within for sometime in January. Details TBD.

Roundtable – Rescheduled for February 23 & 24, 2022
Water Reuse in Recycle Mills - Challenges & Solutions
Save the dates for now. RPTA will communicate details, including registration link, as we get closer to Roundtable dates.

2022 P-T Seminar
RPTA’s annual Production-Technical Seminar will be held in Charlotte, NC on May 2nd and 3rd, co-located with TAPPICon 2022.