UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How many times can one sheet of paper be recycled?
Answer 1:

Maybe you could do an experiment to see how many times one sheet of paper can be recycled. I can think of 2 ways to recycle paper:

1. I can take a piece of used paper and use it again. Sometimes I put the paper in my printer so that something gets printed on the side that was blank. Sometimes I use the paper for making a list or some notes about something I want to remember. Maybe you could recycle the paper by folding it around a letter and making it into an envelope.

2. I can put used paper in my recycle bin. Then maybe it will be used to make more paper. If that paper gets recycled, and the paper after that gets recycled, it would be recycled 3 times. If only recycled paper was used to make more recycled paper, then the new paper might not be as strong or as nice a color. "Recycled" paper is actually made only partly with 'used' paper. I have a pack of paper that says Recycled and in little letters it says "30% post consumer content", which means that less than half the stuff used to make the paper was actually used paper.

You could do easy recycling experiments by using one piece of paper for lots of things. It would be much harder to try to make new paper from old paper.

Best wishes

Answer 2:

The main ingredient in paper is cellulose fibers obtained from plant material such as wood or cotton, hemp or linen. Each time paper is recycled the fibers get shorter and the paper that is made from recycled paper pulp is very weak.This is the main reason why paper cannot be recycled too many times. It is believed that paper may be recycled up to 4-6 times. Generally when you buy recycled paper look carefully at the product label. You will notice that most recycled paper is not made out of 100% recycled paper. Usually the recycled paper contributes to less than half of the total pulp. The rest is regular paper pulp. This is done so that the paper you get in the end is still strong and usable.

However, we can save paper also by "REUSING" it. For e.g., the printer I use in my office prints only on one side. I use the other blank side of the paper for printing too; it is still good paper why waste it, right? I also reuse the paper for making notes. May be you can try and find more creative ways of reusing paper. Try coloring it and using it as gift wrap. Or make paper Mache pencil holders, vases, masks; you are limited only by your imagination.


Answer 3:

A sheet of paper can be recycled 4-6 times. Every time a sheet of paper is recycled, its fibers become shorter and weaker, this limits the number of times it can be recycled.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use