Contaminants in Recycled Paper

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Each year in the United States, Americans use more than 67 billion tons of paper. Paper products make up 40 percent of our waste. (Recycling Facts n.d.) Recycling is a necessity in this situation, as it is a proven benefit to the environment and the long-term future of society.


Grades A and B represent the virtually 100 percent of paper mill waste that is recycled a back into the milling process. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies mill broke (Grade A) as the scraps that are recovered during the paper-making process. (Conservatree 2007, Environmental Definitions) The mills can recycle this at almost zero cost. It is also in the mills' best interest to recycle and re-pulp the unprinted waste (Grade B), as it costs about half of what it costs to recycle post-consumer waste. These two highest grades of recycled paper are both cost-effective and free of contaminants, as it is waste created only by the product production. (Conservatree 2007, Making Paper)
Post-consumer waste is where we find both a greater need for recycling and a high risk of contaminants. Depending on their use, these consumer-used products come back to the recycling plants in various forms, such as envelopes, office paper, newspaper, and magazines, and these forms are often full of contaminants. ...
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