Solid waste—often referred to as sludge—is a by-product of every pulp and papermaking operation.
As a result of de-inking and bleaching, solid waste is sometimes higher at recycled paper mills than mills that use fresh fiber. However, the use of recovered fiber in the manufacture of paper diverts paper from the waste stream and, viewed from this perspective, the sludge from manufacturing recycled paper may have a lower environmental impact than paper that would otherwise be landfilled.
Solid waste can also be used as biomass for energy production. Many mills that produce recycled paper are increasingly able to use sludge for other purposes such as cement.
To evaluate the environmental performance of a paper mill, it is important to know how much solid waste is produced at the mill and how much of that solid waste is diverted from the landfill for energy or other uses.
Coming soon to the Paper Life Cycle…”How Mills Manage Solid Waste”
Check back here for an upcoming addition to the Paper Life Cycle that takes an in-depth look at the solid waste management in North American paper mills and what consumers need to know.