Turning waste papers into new paper products

What is paper recycling?

Paper recycling refers to the process of turning waste papers into new paper products. Generally, there are 3 categories of paper that can be used for making recycled papers.

  • Mill broke is paper trimmings and paper scraps from paper manufacturers and recycled internally in paper mills.
  • Pre-consumer wastes are materials which left the paper mills but are discarded before ready for customers’ use Post-consumer wastes are material discarded after use such as corrugated cartons, old newspapers, old magazines or old telephone directory and office papers.
  • Papers that are suitable for recycling are called ‘scrap papers’ and are usually used to produce molded pulp packaging.

Why recycle papers?

Papers and paper products generate the largest portion of most municipal solid wastes. Paper is made from wood pulp, from cutting down trees and grinding them into pulp. It is estimated that one tree is cut down to produce 20 reams of A4-sized papers. Every month, over 57,000 tonnes of paper which can occupy 456,000 cubic metre of landfill space are thrown into landfills in the Malaysia, equivalent of chopping down 680,000 tress of marketable size.

Paper forms a major part of the waste stream, ending up in drains and waterways, causing problems such as flash floods and stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed. This then leads to other problems like diseases, landslides and traffic congestion. Paper recycling can significantly reduce the quantity of materials being thrown into landfills every day. It also saves the local councils a huge amount of money as they spend between 40-70%of their annual allocation on waste collection and disposal.

Paper recovery rates in Malaysia is still considered low at around 40%. Of about 250,000 tonnes of newsprint a year, Only 100,000 tonnes are recovered from the waste stream. A large balance is yet to be recycled.

Do you know that…

Previously, recycled papers cost more than virgin papers. Now many grades such as text and cover and some coated papers are cost-competitive with virgin papers or even less. The cost difference are primarily economy of scale as many recycled papers being made on smaller paper machines. Recycled papers absorb all the costs into the product and are not rewarded for its contribution to lower energy and water use. Recycling one tonne of paper could save up to 7,000 gallons of water, save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric tonne of carbon equivalent (MTCE).

How does it work?

Papers are collected and deposited in a large recycling

They are then taken to the recycling plant where they are separated into types and grades

They are then taken to the recycling plant where they are separated into types and grades

The separated papers are washed with soapy water to remove inks, plastic film, staples and metals. The amount of contaminants considered acceptable in the pulp depends on the type of paper being produced.

A deinking process uses special systems aided by soaps to wash or float ink and other particles away from the fibres.

Different materials are added to the slurry where different paper products can be created such as office papers or cardboards

The slurry is spread using large rollers to roll them into large thin sheets

The papers are left to dry, rolled up and ready to be cut

Recovered fibres can be used to produce new paper products of 100% recycled content or from a blend of recovered and virgin fibres. Fibres cannot be recycled endlessly, generally between five to seven times before they become too short as a result or re-pulping and other handling to be useable to make paper products. Office papers have long cellulose fibres which have great flexibility for recycling as they can be used to produce new paper products that use long or short fibres. On the other hand, newspaper have short cellulose fibres and can only be recycled into other products that use short cellulose fibres. Therefore, recovered papers with long fibres can fetch higher prices than those with short fibres.

How we can help you

At Thanam Industries Sdn Bhd, we collect recyclables ranging from papers to cartons, boxes, office printouts and computer forms. We provide transportation, collection and sorting services from offices, factories, shopping malls, commercial buildings or large corporations so that you can contribute to a greener environment and leave the hassle of recycling to us.

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