Paper 101: Recycling Different Grades of Materials

Paper is one of the most widely recycled products today. This is because engineers have figured out great ways to transform them into other paper products. Recycling paper helps to reduce the rate in which trees are cut down, which benefits the environment greatly. It can also help to cut down on energy when creating new paper materials. In this blog post, we are going to explain the different paper grades that exist and paper materials that should not be recycled.

 

Paper Products and Their Grades

There are five grades for paper products that you should know when partaking in recycling. Each grade is used and recycled differently because of the differences they have in their materials. Take a look at the different paper grades and their common uses below.

 

1. Mixed Paper

The most diverse paper grade is mixed paper. This grade consists of magazines, paperboard, discarded mail, and books. Sometimes, shredded paper is also considered mixed paper. This paper grade can be used for a wide variety of uses when recycled from roofing materials to egg cartons.

2. Old Newspapers

Your newspapers can be recycled very easily at a recycling plant. Typically, old newspapers can be turned into new newspapers or into tissues. Newspapers are very easy to recycle and it saves a great deal of energy. When using recycled newspapers, less energy is required to create a new one. This is excellent for people trying to conserve energy and recycle paper products.

3. Pulp Substitutes

Pulp substitutes are a high-grade paper product that is made of shavings from operations at paper mills. This grade of paper can be used to great high-grade paper products rather than starting the paper production process from scratch. When paper is made from scratch, paper mills have to use pulp to create the paper. However, with recycled materials such as cardboard and magazines, the pulp can be substituted.

4. High-Grade Deinked Paper

Paper products such as copier paper, envelopes without plastic windows, and letterheads are known as high-grade deinked paper. When deinked first, the paper can be reprocessed into another paper product such as printing paper or tissues.

5. Old Corrugated Containers

Old corrugated containers, which are commonly referred to as corrugated cardboard, are typically cereal and beer boxes. Other common forms of old corrugated containers are shoeboxes, pop boxes, and shipping boxes.

 

Paper Products That Are Not Recyclable

Although most paper products are recyclable, not all can be put in your recycling bin. Some of these products contain plastic or other nonrecyclable materials. When these products reach the recycling plant, they can contaminate the batches of paper. So, be on the lookout for the products below that are often thought of to be recyclable.

 

1. Egg Cartons

Cardboard egg cartons can be recycled with other cardboard products, but these egg cartons are less common today. Most egg companies opt for styrofoam egg cartons today, as they are less expensive to use. However, styrofoam is not recyclable with other paper products. Styrofoam is made of plastic, and so it should not be thrown in with your paper to be recycled. With paper egg cartons, you can recycle them as they are made from paper pulp. But, it is recommended you check with your recycling company to see if they accept paper egg cartons with their other paper products. Also, be sure to check for barcode stickers, as some companies do not print them on their packaging.

2. Envelopes with Plastic Windows

Many businesses use paper envelopes with a plastic window to show the recipient’s address. You have likely received these types of envelopes from a bank or your insurance company. This saves the company time as they only have to print your address on the paper inside, rather than the envelope. However, those plastic windows can contaminate a batch of paper at the recycling plant. Although there is technology that eliminates traces of plastic, it is still best to remove the plastic window before recycling. To do this, cut out the paper portion of the envelope and discard it with your other plastic or in a trash can. This will help the recycling plant tremendously, and the new paper will be much better quality.

3. Paper Towels and Napkins

Many people assume paper towels and napkins can be recycled because they are made of paper. Unfortunately, these items cannot be recycled because of contamination concerns. Many times, paper towels are used with harsh chemicals such as bleach to clean household surfaces. When recycled into something else, such as a cereal box, this can be a health concern. Similarly, food can contaminate a napkin, leading to yet another health concern. This is why it is best to just throw these materials in your trash can.

 

We hope this blog post helped explain paper grades and which cannot be recycled. If you have any questions about which paper products you should throw away into your Randy’s Environmental Services recycling bins, please feel free to contact us. Our customer support specialists would be more than happy to help you.

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Resources:

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://archive.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/materials/paper/web/html/grade.html&sa=D&ust=1585328533537000&usg=AFQjCNFby-Mai-L5fdOpPJaw-9t_3y2Bww

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.earthsfriends.com/recycle-envelopes-plastic-windows/&sa=D&ust=1585328533536000&usg=AFQjCNFyL8RDc1xlSTNayMH3BRqA-PJzQg

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