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 energy use

Recycling mills generally require less total energy (considering both the fuel used at the mill and purchased electricity) than mills with virgin pulping. A somewhat different picture emerges when considering fossil fuel requirements rather than total energy demand. Differences in fossil fuel use (at the mill and associated with purchased electricity) are much smaller. Except perhaps for newsprint, the differences between virgin and recycling mill fossil fuel use are probably not significant.

Energy is required to collect and transport wood to virgin mills and recovered paper to recycled mills. On average, these energy requirements are much lower than the energy used in the manufacturing processes. Site-specific circumstances will determine whether more or less energy is required to collect and transport wood compared to recovered paper.

Finally, the results of overall energy comparisons between virgin and recycled products depend on the end-of-life management of non-recycled products (see link to “Energy Recovery from Discarded Forest Products”). For instance, if the “virgin” production system were to incorporate burning of used paper products with energy recovery (rather than recycling or landfilling), the differences in total energy use between the overall “virgin” and “recycled” systems would be reduced, although usually not eliminated. In a system where used paper is burned with energy recovery, there is typically lower fossil fuel energy demand than there would be for a recycling-based system.

Follow the links to the right for more information.

More information:

Energy use in manufacturing

Transportation energy

Energy recovery from discarded products