EFCT: Environmental Footprint Comparison Tool.  A tool for understanding environmental decisions related to the forest products industry.  Recycled Fiber. headerlink
Effects of recycled fiber use on discharge to water

In general, mills producing recycled paperboard, containerboard, tissue, and fine paper discharge less biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS) than virgin mills making comparable products. The differences between virgin and recycled newsprint mills, however, are not significant.

With few exceptions, the wastewaters from mills in North America are treated before being discharged. This diminishes differences in BOD and TSS loads between mill types. COD (chemical oxygen demand) is less treatable than BOD and as a result, the differences between production categories tend to be larger for COD than for BOD.

When considering these aspects in the context of comparing recycled and virgin fiber, note that trade-offs undertaken at an individual mill site ultimately have cascading effects through the overall industry’s fiber cycle. Given that the recycled and virgin fiber cycles are inherently interrelated [See Overview], shifts in environmental aspects due to changes in the usage of one fiber type versus another result in shifts elsewhere in the fiber cycle. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can help examine these interactions. LCA, particularly in the context of looking at the manufacturing of recycled versus virgin fiber pulp, is discussed in NCASI Technical Bulletin No. 1003.

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Recycled Paperboard


Tissue      Fine Paper