23 February 2021

paper recycling

  • The RTE deinking working group was established in late 2020 to consider growing industry concerns over recycling paper and board waste printed with energy curing products.
  • The group has undertaken a full review of current knowledge, with respect to global and regional current practice in recycling plants.
  • The group will propose a new, RadTech deinking experimental project, to make an objective study of recycling and deinking techniques, when applied to different ink and coating technologies.
  • One theme which has emerged recently is the “repulpability” of paper and board waste. This is a measure of how many times pulp can be recycled before it becomes unsuitable for recycling. This is affected by the number of cycles required to successfully deink the substrate, where repeated or higher energy washing processes shorten the length of the wood fibres, reducing the number of turns of recycling they are suitable for.
  • As this process is clearly linked to ease of deinkability of substrates and is a parameter not considered in previous assessments of deinkability of inks and varnishes, it should provide the basis for the proposed RadTech project to make comparisons between conventional technologies and energy curing technologies.
  • In recent times, the subject of “de-inking and recycling” has become a global issue, from Europe, to the USA and Australia. Despite some recent work indicating that energy cured inks do not represent a bar to successful paper recycling, one or two controversial publications have caused a ‘ripple effect’, where major corporations and industry groups frame policy based on unsubstantiated data or variations in local practices.
  • RadTech would like to bring together stakeholders in the industry (including brand owner policy makers, environmental groups, Industry associations and manufacturers), so as to frame a scientific study to inform choice for the future.
  • Incorrect information, if left unchallenged, will adversely affect the selection of EC products for paper and board printing. The strategy is to determine truth and answer misinformation as soon as possible. If we can correctly identify influencing factors, best practice and most suitable technologies, then our industry and our planet can only benefit.
  • We hope to be in a strong position to point out that not only do EC printed paper and board products offer other environmental advantages, being solvent-free, low energy consumption, etc. but that they can also be successfully recycled at least as well as other technologies. The previous Radtech study (>10 years old) indicated that EC technologies may even offer advantages.

The working group will have their next webconference soon. In case you would also like to be involved in this project, or would like to provide input on these subjects, feel free to get in touch with the RTE Secretariat via mail@radtech-europe.com.