White printer paper, also known as High Grade Deinked Paper) is quality paper that consists of things like envelopes, copy paper and letterhead that has gone through the printing process and had the ink removed. Paper makes up more than 50% of the waste that we consume annually, and we’ve certainly grown accustomed to recycling it and nearly 80% of paper mills use recycled paper in their processing. Recycling paper, like corrugated cardboard, PET #1 plastics and HDPE #2 plastics, paper has mature markets both domestically and internationally that makes recovering recycled paper beneficial.
On an industrial scale, though, paper recycling allows us to save both energy and resources. By recycling one ton of paper we save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 463 gallons of oil, according to the EPA.
Does it matter what type of paper I recycle? Isn’t all paper the same?
No, not all papers are created equally. Newspaper is a lower grade paper because it has already been recycled numerous times, while printer paper is higher grade paper. The grade of paper is determined by fiber length, which shortens after each trip through the recycling process. After being recycled five to seven times, the fibers become too short to make new paper and will need to be mixed with virgin fibers, according to the EPA.