How Is Toilet Paper Recycled?

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1 Introduction

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 50 percent of all paper goods get recycled. In other words that is about 42 million tons of paper products. This paper product becomes recycled into a variety of different paper products. One of these paper products is toilet paper.

2 Preperation

Before recycled paper can be turned into toilet paper, it must first be removed of all non-paper products. This means that any staples or paper clips must first be removed. Once all other products have been removed, the paper is moved to a pulper vat. All types of paper go into the vat, including both colored and white stock.

3 Pulp

Once the paper has entered the pulper, it is mixed with hot water and host of different detergents and mixed. As the paper is mixed, the paper product slowly breaks down into a paper pulp slurry. Once the slurry is at its most liquid form, the pulp is ready to be moved to the next step of the process.

4 Screening

Since most recycled paper has a mixture of both ink and other coatings, the slurry must be pressed through screens and rinsed before moving to the next step. As the pulp slurry is poured through the screens it filters out any unwanted coating material. The remaining pulp can then be rinsed with water to help remove any unwanted dyes and inks. Peroxide is then introduced to the mixture, helping to whiten the final product.

5 Sheeting

The mixture is then shot through another set of screens, helping remove any remaining water from the fibers. This leaves sheets of matted fiber. The sheets are then put in a Yankee dryer which removes all but approximately five percent of the remaining water.

6 Creping

To give the recycled paper back some softness, the sheets are taken out of the Yankee dryer and creped. Creping involves being quickly scraped off their screens with a metal blade. This reduces the strength of the paper, but gives it softness and its wrinkled look. Since the toilet paper is being made of recycled products instead of virgin wood products, the resulting paper will never be as soft. However, creping can help reduce the roughness of most recycled toilet papers.

7 Rolls

The recycled toilet paper is now ready to be wound on roles using a converting machine. The converting machine wraps the wide sheets of toilet paper onto long paper rolls. Once full, this roll is then cut into many smaller sections creating the smaller recycled toilet paper rolls you see in your local store.

Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.