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The Paper Recycling Process

But, what happens to your paper products once you put them in the recycling bin?

Here’s the recycling process:

  • Begins at any number of locations, including community curbside programs, drop-off centers, schools, or offices. It starts with you filling the recycling bin.
  • After the paper is collected, it goes to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where it’s loaded on a conveyer belt and contaminants are removed.
  • Once the recovered paper is free of contaminants, it is separated and baled. Then it’s transported to a paper mill where the recycling process begins.
  • At the paper mill, the paper bale is loaded into a pulper, which looks like a giant blender. It’s mixed with water and other ingredients then it’s churned and broken down. Things like tape and staples are screened out.
  • From there, this slurry of fibers is screened for further cleaning. And as it dries it is formed into rolls of paper — newly recycled paper.

How Paper Recycling Works

Follow along as industry experts walk you through the recycling process and explain where your paper products might end up.