Paper recycling

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Waste paper on the roadside
Storage hall for waste paper in Hamburg

As paper recycling the resolution and preparation of is waste paper , second-hand cardboard and cardboard in plants of the paper industry called with the aim of it again a new paper , cardboard manufacture and cardboard. To a small extent, the recycled waste paper is initially used to produce waste paper stock as pulp, which is only used later to produce new paper.

Amounts of waste paper

Around 22 million tons of paper , cardboard and cardboard were produced in Germany in 2019 . According to the Association of German Paper Mills, more than 17 million tons of waste paper were used for this. The more paper that is recycled, the less wood or pulp has to be used for paper production.

To a large extent from waste paper z. B. Packaging paper and cardboard (up to 100%) and newsprint (most daily newspapers are printed on paper made from 100% recycled paper).

Paper is recycled for the most varied of qualities: for hygiene papers (toilet paper, paper towels and kitchen towels) or uncoated paper such as for copy paper and newsprint. In the meantime, there are lavishly manufactured copy papers that are comparable to fresh fiber paper in terms of their processing properties and also differ only minimally from this in terms of whiteness. In the meantime, recycled fibers are also used in the production of higher quality papers such as for magazines.

In the case of hygiene papers and newsprint , it is almost impossible to increase the proportion of waste paper today. In order to further increase the recycling rate, more and more waste paper is used for higher quality paper (for newspapers / magazines). With repeated recycling, however, the fibers shorten and have to be removed from the cycle. For this reason fresh fibers have to be kept fresh. B. get into the cycle with magazines (wood pulp) and pulp. This avoids the possibility of a "recycling collapse" after repeated recycling.

The manufacture of the various types of recovered paper is based on the “List of European standard types and their qualities” drawn up by the paper industry and the suppliers of recovered paper. This list describes in the European standard EN 643: 2014-05 95 types of waste paper in their composition and quality. The number of standardized grades is constantly increasing, as paper mills develop techniques to process previously unusable qualities.

Waste paper collection

Collection of waste paper for the German Red Cross (1968)

The waste paper collection in Germany consists of a collection and delivery system in which private and municipal companies participate. The collection of waste paper is regulated by the Recycling Management Act. The collection system is characterized by the fact that the waste paper is disposed of in the bins , containers or sacks provided by the municipalities at the points of origin , then picked up by disposal vehicles and sorted in sorting systems. With the bring system, also known as an alternative collection system, the waste paper is collected by consumers and pre-sorted and given to waste paper sales points or recycling centers. As a result, the energetic expenditure for the production of pure waste paper is lower than with the collection system, in which the quality of the waste paper sorting is lower. Commercial waste disposal companies that pay out cash for the disposal of waste paper are called waste paper sellers.

Waste paper sorting

The waste paper is sorted according to waste paper standards (CEN European Standard EN 643, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. and Paper Recycling Promotion Center), in which the permitted qualities for Europe, North America and Japan are determined. It is intended to help ensure that the paper mills receive a high-quality secondary raw material for producing their recycled paper . Common processes for sorting waste paper are manual, partially or fully automated.

Processing of waste paper

The energy and water consumption in the production of recycled paper is generally lower than in the production of paper from primary fibers such as wood or cellulose. Paper recycling thus makes an important contribution to environmental protection .

The key process in paper recycling for graphic paper is deinking , the removal of printing ink from the waste paper. Undeinked recycled papers are of almost no importance on the market.

Printing inks that cannot be removed in conventional processes, such as the inks used in flexographic printing , UV printing or also for new digital printing processes, cause problems with paper recycling for light-colored papers . While dry toner can usually be removed from waste paper just as easily as conventional offset printing inks, many inkjet inks and liquid toner interfere with recycling considerably. This applies less to individual printed pages that are created at home or in the office than to mass printed matter (advertising mail) or digitally printed newspapers, but above all to printing waste.

Today, waste paper is used for the production of newsprint, office paper (copy paper), hygiene paper (toilet paper) and cardboard. Newsprint and many cardboard boxes consist almost entirely of waste paper. The graying of the paper is reduced by using white fillers ( calcium carbonate , kaolin ) and / or by additionally painting the paper surface with white coating colors .


Long ago people were concerned about the disposal or recycling of waste paper. In the First Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt, papyri were already being recycled to make cardboard boxes for death masks , as the archaeologist Flinders Petrie discovered in 1907 during his excavations in Rifeh . Archibald Henry Sayce drew the conclusion from the findings that the manufacturers bought entire collections of old papyri that were no longer in use. The paper, which was later made from wood or hemp, was often used again after its original use, e.g. B. used by bookbinders to stabilize, among other things, book covers and spines .

For the time around 1775 there is evidence that methods were found to convert used paper back into "new" paper. Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart writes the following in his German Chronicle : “ Martin Heinrich Klaproth in Göttingen invented the art of putting old, already printed paper back in and making it usable again for printing. Wilhelm Heinrich Sebastian Buchholz in Weimar practiced this art, and with the help of the Weimar papermaker Wiesers, converted an old legal tome into new paper, on which the Erfurt learned newspaper is now being printed. The 21st piece is the first to be printed in this way, and it turned out very well. But how do you erase the printing ink? You need Walker Earth, also white clay mixed with potash. It's a misery; now the bad writers no longer even have the consolation of cheese merchants and herring women to be read in the market. "


The demand for waste paper has increased enormously worldwide, which makes separate collection more attractive again. As a result of the increased price and high demand, more and more companies are offering private households free waste paper disposal after the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court declared commercial collection permissible in January 2008. In the past, the proceeds from waste paper collections mainly benefited associations and church youth work.

In principle, paper recycling has proven to be economically and ecologically efficient. Nevertheless, the rapidly increasing costs for energy and the raw material waste paper as well as the increasingly poor quality of the raw material waste paper from the municipal collections are driving the first companies into insolvency. The long transport routes are the primary disadvantage in life cycle assessments , because paper cannot be recycled in a decentralized manner. After the circulation of daily newspapers continues to decline due to a lack of reading enthusiasm, not only is the demand for newsprint, but also the volume of waste paper falling. However, more waste paper is needed, especially for the increased demand for packaging.

Web links

Commons : Paper recycling  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken eV: Recycle paper ( Memento of the original from December 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ A b Jürgen Blechschmidt: waste paper. Regulations - recording - processing - machines and systems - environmental protection, Hanser, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-446-42616-0
  4. CEPI website with explanations on EN643 (English)
  5. CEN European Standard EN 643 European quality standard for waste paper sorting.
  6. Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. North American institute for determining the quality standard for waste paper sorting.
  7. Paper Recycling Promotion Center paper recycling in Japan, quality standard waste paper sorting.
  8. INGEDE press release of July 3, 2015, accessed on November 27, 2018: Cross- linked colors are difficult to remove when deinking
  9. ^ William Matthew Flinders Petrie : Gizeh and Rifeh. With chapters by Herbert Thompson and Walter Ewing Crum . Quaritch, London 1907 ( British School of Archeology in Egypt and Egyptian Research Account 13, ZDB -ID 1240593-0 ), (New edition: Adamant Media Corporation, Boston MA 2005, ISBN 1-4212-1681-7 )
  10. ^ Archibald Henry Sayce, in WM Flinders Petrie: Illahun, Kahun and Gurob. , D.Nutt, London 1891,
  11. ^ Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart: German chronicle for the year 1775. Christian Ulrich Wagner, Ulm 1775, 25th piece, March 27, 1775.
  12. OVG Lower Saxony ( Memento of the original from December 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. January 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. Stuttgarter Zeitung  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Leonberger Kreiszeitung from February 14, 2008.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /