What happens to the shredded paper?

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The last part of the paper-recycling process that most people see is the drop-off of the paper into a bin or at a recycling center. However, that is just the first stage of recycling for the paper itself. Once paper has been deposited at the recycling center, it goes through a series of steps and processes before emerging as recycled paper. Millions of tons of paper are recycled each year, and the paper is used in a number of ways.


  1. Before paper begins the recycling process, it must be collected and taken to a Houston recycling facility that has the capacity to process large amounts of paper. Hundreds of tons of paper can be processed in a day by most recycling facilities. Trash collectors often work with recycling facilities and bring them recycled goods. Many recycling facilities also perform more than one type of recycling; this may include recycling paper, glass, aluminum and other materials.
  2. Sorting

  3. When paper arrives at the facility, it needs to be sorted into the appropriate category. Certain types of paper, such as magazine paper and cardstock, require specific processing to break them down. The gloss on magazine paper can alter the way regular newspaper and print paper are recycled, and cardstock is thicker than normal paper and can take longer to be broken down. Once the paper is sorted into its necessary categories, it will be sent to be processed.
  4. Pulping

  5. After the paper has been sorted, or graded, it is pulped. This involves cutting or chopping up the paper and blending it with water to destroy the original shape of the paper. This allows it to be worked into different forms or types of paper. This part of the process can be completed quickly, as most types of paper will break down very quickly in water and become pulp. Bleach or dye may be added to the pulp to change the color.
  6. Draining

  7. After the paper is pulped, it is screened and drained. Screening is the process by which the pulp is placed on a flat screen; this restores its shape and allows excess water to drain off. Screened pulp may also be cleaned with certain chemicals to bleach or de-ink the pulp and make it whiter. Recycled paper frequently has a brown or gray tint that can be altered with the use of bleach and dyes.
  8. Uses

  9. Once paper has gone through this process, it can be turned into paper, office supplies, insulation for houses, paper cups and many other products. Recycling paper is one of the simplest ways individuals can recycle, and the process for recycling paper can be completed in as little as a week. Many companies use recycled paper products to reduce environmental impact.