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Paper Recycling Terms

Glossary for paper recycling


This article provides terms and definitions related to the collection and recycling of paper products.

Baler: A baler is a widely used piece of recycling equipment used to compress material into bales, thus improving storage, handling and transportation efficiencies involved in handling recyclable materials such as old corrugated containers (OCC).

Carbon Sequestration: Carbon sequestration can be described as a method for managing the amount of carbon dioxide (C02) that is released into the atmosphere by burning carbon-based fuels. This is accomplished through the storage of carbon so that it is not released into the atmosphere.

Compactor: A compactor is a piece of industrial equipment used to compress recyclable material, including OCC, within the unit, resulting in storage, handling and transportation efficiency gains.

Curbside Recycling: Curbside collection is an approach to community recycling that involves residents placing recyclables at curbside in designated bins or carts for regularly scheduled pick-up. The largest component of community recycling programs is paper products.

Deinking: Deinking is the process resulting in the removal of printing ink and impurities from recovered paper so as to improve paper whiteness and purity. Deinking loss refers to the loss of fiber from pulp during deinking.

Drop-off Recycling: Drop-off is an approach to community recycling programs that involves residents delivering recyclables to a designated site. It is less convenient than curbside recycling and typically generates a lower community recycling rate than curbside, but being much less costly to administer.

Dual-Stream Recycling: Dual-stream is an approach to a curbside collection process that requires residents to separate paper products from other recyclables. A benefit to this approach is less risk of contamination from other recyclables. An alternative approach is single-stream recycling, in which recyclables are comingled. Single-stream is more convenient for residents, and as such is looked at as a good way to boost recycling.

High Grade: This refers to high quality white or cream-colored paper recovered from business offices, homes, institutions and and other sources, including used copy paper, stationary and old books.

Mill Broke: Paper waste created in a paper mill during the papermaking process is referred to as mill broke. Typically it is reintroduced directly to the pulping process, and is not included in the definition of “recovered fiber.”

Mixed Paper: Mixed paper includes paper of various grades, colors, finishes, and coatings mixed together.

Old Corrugated (Cardboard) Containers (OCC): This term refers to used corrugated containers, the most widely recycled material.

Old Magazines (OMG): This term refers to used magazines. These may be recycled into to writing paper, tissue, newsprint or paperboard.

Old Newspapers (ONP): This term refers to old newspapers collected for recycling into products such as newsprint, paperboard as well as others.

Paper Stock: A term used in the paper recycling industry for the material generated through paper recycling, similar to recovered paper or waste paper.

Post-consumer Recovered Fiber: This includes paper or paperboard products that have been consumed or used prior to recovery. This term does not refer to fiber generated by converters or printers during production, or the liquidation of excess inventories.

Recovered Fiber: This can include post-consumer recovered fiber, discussed above, as well as manufacturing wastes. Manufacturing waste can include cuttings, trimmings, rejected or otherwise unused stock. It can also include the pulping of finished paper and paperboard from obsolete inventories.

Recycled Paper: A paper can only be called ‘recycled’ if it contains 100 percent recycled content, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guides for Environmental Marketing Claims. If the content is less than 100 percent, the paper should then be referred to as “recycled-content” paper.

Recycling Bins and Roll Carts: These include a range of containers used to collect recyclable materials in a variety of settings such as workplaces, schools and homes. Roll carts are larger wheeled bins used by businesses for gathering paper, or which may be provided by communities to local residents for the collection of recyclables.

Recycling Rate: The recycling rate can be defined as the total amount of paper recycled (by weight) divided by the total amount of paper discarded as well as recycled (both also by weight).

Virgin Fiber: This refers to newly sourced and previously usused cellulose fiber sourced from trees or other plants.

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