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 water use

In general, mills that use only recovered fiber require less water to manufacture a specific type of product than those mills that manufacture the product from on-site produced virgin fiber. The effects need to be examined on a product-by-product basis, however.

For instance, the differences in water use and effluent flow between virgin and recycled linerboard mills are much greater than the differences between virgin and recycled newsprint mills (where NCASI data suggest no significant difference).

In addition, in some product sectors (linerboard and newsprint, for instance), many mills use a combination of virgin and recycled fiber. At these mills, the water systems in the “virgin” and “recycled” parts of the mill may be interconnected, making it difficult to generalize about the effects of increased recycling.

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, 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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More information:

Paperboard

Containerboard

Recycled Paperboard

Newsprint

Tissue      Fine Paper