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 Recipients of
2022 Scholarships

Click here for details.

Industry Profile Study
The 2022 Industry Profile Study is underway. This year samples of 21 different grades off 68 paper machines are included.
The target report date for the 2022 Study is September 1.
Members can access reports from prior years at this member-only page.

2022 P-T Seminar
RPTA’s annual Production-Technical Seminar was held May 2nd and 3rd at the Charlotte Convention Center, co-located with TAPPICon 2022

There were four very informative sessions covering Contaminant Removal, Refining, Paper Machine Drying and Threading Safety & Guarding. Copies of all presentations made are available at this member-only page.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Summer 2022 Webinar
On July 13th at 2:00 PM Eastern Time, the Operating Board will host a webinar moderated by Chuck Legatt, General Manager of Liberty Paper Inc. Kate McGlynn, of RPTA, will present
Making Product Suitable for Food Contact.

Learn about the unique challenges and requirements associated with making product destined for food-contact packaging, especially when making product with recovered fiber.

Use Use this link to register for this member only webinar.

2022 RPTA Fall Roundtable
The Operating Board has selected paper machine clothing as the 2022 RPTA Fall Roundtable topic. It will include a tour of a supplier’s manufacturing facilities. The dates, location and logistical details will be published as soon as arrangements are made.

2023 RPTA Production-Technical Seminar
The 2023 RPTA P-T Seminar will be held April 24th and 25th, 2023 at the Cobb Convention Center in Atlanta. The Operating Board will recruit speakers on wet end improvements; DAF and fiber recovery optimization; process data collection and use; and safety improvements from dryers through calendar stacks. Stay tuned.