Keeping Recycled Paper Clean

Because we are making high-quality products out of the paper you recycle, we need that paper to be clean. Recycled paper is not trash – it is the raw material that runs our industry. When the paper we receive at our mills is heavily contaminated, we cannot use it.

Our state-of-the-art mills can remove small amounts of contaminants like plastic coatings and laminates, inks, adhesives, food, and some broken glass — but only in very small amounts. That’s why we prefer recycling programs that collect paper separately from other recyclables like glass bottles.

The Problem with Single-Stream Recycling Collection Programs

Single-stream collection programs, which commingle recyclable materials in one bin, increase the contamination we find in the paper we use in our mills. The level of contamination in single-stream programs can exceed 25%, turning perfectly good recyclables back into garbage. Our mills cannot use this material. If collected materials are not clean and free of contaminants, they can damage costly papermaking equipment and degrade our final product.

A Better Solution: Keeping Materials Separated

Keeping paper free of all other recyclable materials is the best way to ensure that the paper will be recycled properly. To ensure that the paper you recycle stays as clean as possible, please support source-separated recycling collection programs in your community, where paper is collected in a separate bin from other recyclables like glass.