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Paper provides the best opportunity to participate in recycling because of its mass percentage of the municipal waste stream. Millions of tons of paper are produced each year in the form of books, magazines, newspapers, packaging, and other products.

A ton of recycled paper saves thousands of gallons of water, over 3 cubic yards of landfill space, and enough energy to power a house for six months.

Recycled paper can be used to create other paper products, or some of the following:


Dust masks

Lamp shapes

Coffee filters

Egg cartons

Car insulation

Masking tape

Hospital gowns


There are five different types of paper materials that are used for various products.

1.  Old Corrugated Containers (OCC):  This paper grade is used to make cardboard containers and boxes. This grade generally includes cereal boxes, shipping boxes, and other types of packaging.

2.    Mixed Paper: Composed of magazines, catalogs, and paperboard, this grade is milled and generally used as a secondary fiber or as pulp to create non-paper recyclables such as insulation, wallboard, and egg cartons.

3.   Old Newspapers (ONP):  This grade mainly uses recycled newspapers to create new print, though some ONP will be used as secondary fiber in tissue or paperboard.

4.  High Grade Deinked Paper: Printing Paper, letterhead, and standard copy paper comprise this grade, which is generally processed to become new printing paper.

5.   Pulp Substitutes:  Paper mills and print shops create shavings during processing, which become pulp substitutes.  This grade is used to re-create high grade paper products.


Consumers are surrounded by opportunities to implement paper recycling at home, at work, at school, and within their community. 

Organize and plan for paper recycling.  Determine what types of paper waste your site generates, how and when to collect, and when it will be picked up.

If organizing for a school, consider creating a school wide competition or incentive to boost participation.

Colleges and universities generate a large amount of printer paper that is often discarded instead of being recycled.  Make recycling convenient as possible by placing receptacles next to trashcans.  Inquire about any possible financial assistance or incentives for starting a recycling program

In offices, place recycling bins close to printers and copiers.  Create separate recycling bins for white paper, generally higher in value, and color paper.

Educate employees or students if incorporating a new recycling program at school or at the office. Emphasize the benefits, and create an easy way to start.  Clearly label bins and notify people of pickup times.  Continue recycling efforts by providing goals or updates on the progress of the program.


Keep recyclable paper free of contaminants, which could make paper impossible to recycle. Check your local recycling guidelines for specific rules.

Contaminants may include:

      Food boxes or containers such as ice cream cartons and take out boxes and containers.

       Boxes or paper lined with wax.

       Tissues, napkins, and paper towels.

       Photographs printed on glossy or matte film paper.

       Plastic liners from cereal or cracker boxes.

       Mailing envelopes that contain plastic windows or plastic bubble liner.

       Books with adhesive binding.

Paper Recycling – General Information

In the United States, waste paper and paper products are responsible for over twenty-nine percent of all municipal solid waste generated by both residential communities and businesses.

Paper is the number one waste material that Americans throw into the garbage despite the availability of paper recycling opportunities offered through curb-side pick-up and municipal transfer stations and landfills. Whether you’re new to recycling or been practicing it for a good while, making a concerted effort to recycle all kinds of paper can significantly reduce or come close to eliminating the overall amount of
material waste your business is responsible for generating.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is a great resource for guidelines and details about paper recycling for all types of individuals and businesses including businesses wanting to recycle, teachers, students, and businesses involved in manufacturing products from paper.

In 2010, Americans were responsible for recycling close to sixty-three percent of all paper products. While this number may seem impressive, given the total amount of paper products that we use on a daily basis at work or home, this total number can be improved upon and increased. Whenever you make the choice to recycle, you are actively reducing the need for additional landfill space and the generation of dangerous greenhouse gasses, while preserving the environment.

A substantial majority of the paper mills in the United States are designed to incorporate paper collected via recycling programs as part of the paper manufacturing process. In fact, the paper industry relies heavily upon the availability of recycled waste paper to provide the essential materials required to create new paper products.

Whenever a tree is cut down for use in the manufacturing of paper products, carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere and contributes to highly-dangerous greenhouses gasses. Greenhouse gasses can only be removed from our atmosphere when carbon absorption is at a greater level than the carbon dioxide emission rate. Every living tree and plant on the planet absorbs carbon and helps to reduce carbon dioxide so the more we can use recycled paper in the creation of new paper products, the healthier our air quality and atmosphere will be.

Are you thinking that one person or one business recycling waste paper can’t make a difference? Take a look at these facts. The average American generates almost eight hundred pounds of waste paper each year. Two, three, or four people put together will generate close to, if not more than, one ton of waste paper each year. When one ton of paper is recycled instead of ending up in a landfill, it will:

-Provide sufficient energy to an average-size home for six months

-Save more than seven thousand gallons of water

-Free up almost three and a half cubic yards of landfill space

-Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 metric ton

Recycling your waste paper is one of the easiest and most effective habits your business or household can do to save the environment and cut costs for waste disposal. It’s never too late to begin a recycling program or improve the one you currently have.


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