|GRN Recycle Talk FAQ
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 12:02:34 -0500 (EST) From: FRIEDMAN.FRED@EPA.GOV (Fred Friedman) Subject: Re: Paper recycling industry, what to do about the [l]inks
May 28, 2000
I take it that you mean what to do with the Inks in paper recycling and what pollution is caused by paper recycling.
The inks are washed off and, if they are chemical inks (which often contain heavy metals) disposed of accordingly. I don't know what nation you are in, but most will have a test to see that the washed residue is not classified as a hazardous waste before determining where you may dispose of it).
Increasingly, however, soy inks are being used. These pose no pollution problems.
Most US recycling mills have deinking operations built into their processes.
And that is the first and most common pollutant: chemical paper sludges.
All paper production produces air emissions, recycled paper producing significantly less of it. An old EPA report says that 58 lbs less per ton of virgin kraft paper production, but that is not necessarily a fair comparison.
Bleaching is another source of major pollution. Whether bleaching with chlorine or an alternative, pollution is created in virgin and in recycled paper production. I must note however that as of 1996, 63% of recovered fibers did not require bleaching since their end products (cardboard, containerboard, paperboard) did not require it.
Virgin production releases the most amounts of:
It should be noted that recycled also consumes far less energy to produce, but some recycling operations produce more solid waste (e.g. coatings and short paper fibers) than do virgin mills.
- Research Library for RCRA