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Press Release 3/99

Please do not design for the dustbin:

Think already about recycling
when developing a paper product!

"Guide to an optimum utilisation of recovered graphic paper" to assure quality

Every year, new recovery records are being set up with a growing amount of waste paper being recovered and reused. However, while the amount of recovered paper has risen steadily, the quality continues to deteriorate. Paper mills (especially graphic paper manufacturers) are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain graphic paper of the usual quality from the wide variety of recovered waste paper grades.

This is due, among other things, to collection systems which are not suited for the recovery of waste paper to be used for graphic paper: cardboard and paper are first collected jointly in one container just to be separated later by hand on an assembly line. The rising level of contraries which should not be contained in recovered paper (wall papers, beverage containers, soiled packaging), but also of small and tiny cardboard scraps render the sorting process increasingly difficult. Such contraries frequently get into the paper mill.

The raw material recovered paper itself is also subject to change: today’s newspapers are thinner and more colourful than they used to be. As a consequence, an increasing amount of printing ink is being introduced into the recycling process on a decreasing amount of paper, which makes it more and more difficult to remove the ink from the fibres.

To ensure ecologically sound paper recycling in the long run, all members of the graphic paper chain (including, among others, buyers and designers of print products, advertising agencies and marketing departments) have to join efforts: print products are to be designed in such a way that they do not unnecessarily impede recycling.

Accordingly, non-paper material such as contained in some advertising letters or newspaper supplements ought to meet a couple of requirements allowing their removal in pieces as large as possible during the process. CDs or product samples do not impede paper recycling, since these are being retained as a whole by the first recycling sieve. Adhesives, however, are frequently more difficult to remove unless they form large cohesive films which cannot pass the sieve.

Most printing inks are easy to remove if they are applied to coated papers since in that case there is no direct contact between paper fibre and ink particle. Printing inks which form firmly sticking, tenacious printing ink films are more difficult to remove from the fibre. Examples of inks forming sticking, tenacious ink films are radiation curing systems (UV inks) and offset inks containing large shares of oxidatively drying oils such as linseed oil or soy oil.

Water-based printing inks recently introduced and used in some European countries for flexoprinting or gravure printing constitute another major problem. They contain binders which dissolve during recycling and set free tiny ink particles – too small to be separated by means of commonly used recycling procedures. These ink particles end up as specks in the "new" newsprint.

In order to ensure the survival of recycling in the future, the associations forming part of the German graphic paper chain adopted a Guide committing all parties involved to contribute to the best of their ability to a continued utilisation of recovered paper as a raw material for new paper in the future. Accordingly, the German Printing Industry Federation (Bundesverband Druck), Association of Adhesive Manufacturers (Industrieverband Klebstoffe), German Pulp and Paper Association (Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken, VDP), Association of German Magazine Publishers (Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger, VDZ), Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (Verband der Druckfarbenindustrie) and INGEDE jointly issued a "Guide to an optimum utilisation of recovered graphic paper".

This Guide is but a first step towards an intensified cooperation between individual members of the paper chain and has also been published in the internet on the INGEDE homepage: click here.

INGEDE is an association of leading European paper manufacturers founded ten years ago. INGEDE aims at promoting utilisation of recovered graphic paper (newsprint and magazines) and improving the conditions for an extended use of recovered paper for the production of graphic and hygiene papers.

June 8, 1999

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Last update: 1/11/2007