The Evolution of Paper and Recycling


Paper was first invented over 2,000 years ago. Cloth sheets were used to record drawings and words when it was originally created in China. People used to draw drawings and symbols on stones, bones, cave walls, and even clay tablets before this development. Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese court official, initially created the paper we know today in Lei-Yang, China.

It’s thought he blended water with mulberry bark, hemp, and rags, crushed the mixture into a pulp, squeezed out the liquid, and hung the thin mat to dry. Muslims from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq conquered a Chinese paper factory in the eighth century and discovered the secret of papermaking. When the Muslims conquered Europe, they brought with them paper-making technology. Spain developed the first paper mill outside of China, which aided in the spread of papermaking technology across Europe. Paper was used to create major books, bibles, and countless legal documents throughout the next 800 years. England was producing vast quantities of paper in the late 15th century, enough to feed the colonies for many years. The first paper mill in America was established in Pennsylvania in 1690.

Paper Mills in the United States

To manufacture paper, American paper mills first used the Chinese method of shredding rags and garments. However, when the need for paper expanded, mills began to employ tree fibres instead of clothes because wood was less expensive. Paper is currently created from trees and recycled paper. Wood chips or residual saw dust are sometimes used by paper mills to create new paper goods. Recycling has long been a part of the paper-making process. Currently, paper mills can recycle old paper to make newspaper, notebook paper, paper bags, corrugated boxes, envelopes, magazines, cartons, and a variety of other paper goods.

Production of Paper Right Now

Currently, recycled fibres account for more than 36% of the fibres used to manufacture new paper goods in the United States. In 2007, 56 percent of paper consumed in the United States was collected for recycling. Every person in the United States receives around 360 pounds of paper from the 54.3 million tonnes of paper collected. The paper industry is now working toward a new target of recovering 60% of old paper goods for recycling by 2012.

Paper Recyclability

Paper recycling is the process of repurposing discarded paper to create new paper-based products. Mill broken, pre-consumed waste, and post-consumed waste are the three types of paper that may be used to generate recycled paper. Paper trimmings and other leftovers from the papermaking process that are recycled directly at the mill are referred to as mill broken. Material disposed away prior to consumer use is referred to as pre-consumer trash. Finally, post-consumer waste refers to materials that have been discarded after they have been used by consumers. Old periodicals, old telephone directories, and domestic mixed paper may all fall under this category. The term “scrap paper” refers to any paper that may be recycled.