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Guide to Recycled Paper for Printing

Recycling paper is not just an eco-friendly act; it's an imperative in the current climate crisis. The use of recycled paper significantly reduces the number of trees that need to be cut down for paper production, conserves natural resources, and saves energy. 

This guide will help you understand the types of printer papers that can be recycled, how the recycling process works, the benefits of buying recycled papers, and other important aspects.

Table of Contents

  1. Types of Printer Papers that Can Be Recycled
  2. How Printer Paper is Recycled
  3. Benefits of Buying Recycled Papers
  4. Certification and Labeling
  5. Common Myths Debunked
  6. How to Get Started
  7. Conclusion

Types of Printer Papers that Can Be Recycled

White Office Paper

This is the most common type of office paper, and it's easily recyclable.

Colored Paper

Colored printer papers can also be recycled, although the dye may limit the recyclability in some programs.

Glossy Paper

While recyclable, glossy papers should be separated from other paper types due to the coating.


This thicker paper is recyclable, but check your local program for guidelines as it may need to be separated.

Shredded Paper

Though it's recyclable, place shredded paper in a paper bag to prevent it from creating a mess in the recycling facility.

Inkjet and Laser Printouts

Both are generally recyclable; however, some inks are more easily removed than others.

Related Read: Which Inkjet Papers Can Be Recycled?

Note: Thermal paper, commonly used in fax machines, generally cannot be recycled due to its chemical coating.

How Printer Paper is Recycled

  1. Collection: Recycled paper is collected from various sources, including homes, offices, and paper banks.
  2. Sorting: The collected paper is sorted by type and grade.
  3. Shredding and Pulping: The sorted paper is then shredded and mixed with water to create a pulp.
  4. De-Inking: Inks and dyes are removed from the pulp through a series of chemical and mechanical processes.
  5. Cleaning: The pulp is then cleaned to remove any remaining contaminants.
  6. Bleaching: Some types of paper pulp may be bleached for color consistency.
  7. Pressing and Drying: The clean pulp is then pressed and dried to form new paper sheets.

Benefits of Buying Recycled Papers

The benefits of using recycled paper extend far beyond the obvious advantage of reducing waste in landfills. 

Conservation of Natural Resources

Opting for recycled paper significantly aids in the conservation of natural resources, including the preservation of forests, as it's estimated that each ton of recycled paper saves approximately 17 trees. 

Energy Savings

The production process for recycled paper is also more energy-efficient, consuming around 60% less energy than manufacturing virgin paper, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, because the paper fibers have already been processed once, fewer chemicals are needed, which decreases water pollution. 

Waste Management

Additionally, buying recycled paper products encourages the market for such sustainable options, ultimately pushing for broader environmental responsibility across industries. Thus, by choosing recycled paper, you contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly world.

Certification and Labeling

Look for labels like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the recycled symbol to ensure you're buying responsibly-produced recycled paper.

Common Myths Debunked

Quality: Modern recycled paper is virtually indistinguishable from non-recycled paper in quality.

Cost: Though slightly more expensive, the environmental benefits often outweigh the cost difference.

How to Get Started Using Recycled Paper

Assessment: Evaluate your paper needs and find suitable recycled options.

Purchase: Look for certifications and buy in bulk to save money.

Use and Recycle: Utilize both sides of the paper when printing and always recycle the paper when done.


Recycling paper is an easy but powerful way to contribute to environmental sustainability. From choosing the right type of paper to recycling it correctly, every step counts.

By making informed choices and participating actively in the recycling loop, you not only can contribute to a greener printing environment but also end up with some great quality photo papers or printer papers that are recycled.

Last updated: September 20, 2023