Recycled Paper

Paper produced using discarded paper, or recovered fibers, rather than virgin fibers as a source of pulp. About 80% of the recovered paper used in the United States is used to produce paperboards, and the primary sources of the recovered fibers are discarded cardboard containers and packaging, old newspapers, catalogs and directories. Recovered paper used for paperboard typically does not undergo deinking. Since the early 1970s, recycled pulp has been increasingly used to manufacture newsprint, and deinked recycled paper is increasingly used to manufacture writing, typing, printing, and xerography papers, as well as tissues and other sanitary papers. Recovered paper can either come from post-consumer sources, such as discarded paper, or from pre-consumer sources, such as waste from the papermaking process itself. The expense of recovering paper and making it usable—especially for high-quality writing and printing papers—is still an impediment to the widescale production of recycled papers. Concern over deforestation and the mushrooming size of landfills (40% of material occupying United States landfills is paper products) has spurred the use of recycled paper. Printing and writing papers utilized by the federal government must contain 50% recovered fibers, and according to an Executive Order, beginning in 1995 government-purchased paper must contain 20% post-consumer fibers, the percentage to rise to 30% by 1999.

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