How Often Can Paper Be Recycled?

December 29, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

How often can paper be recycled? The always excellent Brian Palmer had the answer:

  • In theory paper can survive dozens of rounds of the recycling process.
  • However each time paper is recycled the fibres that make it up are cut – quite often into pieces that are too small to use. This means that more realistically paper can be recycled up to about five times.
  • Each time it is recycled, paper loses some of its quality. Therefore it goes from being writing paper to facial tissues, milk cartons, and, finally, cereal boxes.
  • Most of the recycled paper is sent to China which doesn’t have enough forestland to feed its demand for paper.
  • In fact, waste-paper might be America’s biggest export to China.

Read more about where your paper might end up, how paper is recycled, and why the United States should be thankful for China over here.

Source: Slate