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Environmental efforts made by the Japanese paper industry

Concept for Paper Recycling | Sorted CollectionConcept for Paper Recycling | Sorted Collection

Sorted collection is the first step toward recycling.

The need for sorting and the method

Papers of different kinds and for different uses require different recipes of the raw materials. Recovered paper to be used as raw material, therefore, should preferably be of consistent quality. For this reason, it is the first step that recovered paper should be sorted out at source for the efficient promotion of paper recycling. A random mixture of different kinds of recovered paper can be used to produce recycled paper; however, the uses of recycled paper become limited because of the poor quality and the difficulty of recipe control in the manufacturing process. Intensive efforts for separation at source serve to heighten the value of recovered paper as a resource material. It is, of course, important to remove any non-paper objects at collection stage. In addition, papers that would cause trouble in the recycling process must not be included.

Table1 The method of sorting

Recyclable paper products

Type Content
Newspapers Old newspaper (including flyer)
Magazines Weekly magazine, monthly magazine, book, etc
Old corrugated containers Corrugated box
Paper packs Beverage cartons
Sorted residential old paper and paperboard Paper discharged from households except those mentioned above
(flyer, brochure, copy paper, wrapping paper, paper bag, carton, etc)
Office papers Paper discharged from business offices except those mentioned above
(copy paper, flyer, business card, envelope, wrapping paper, paper bag, etc)
  • ※Please remove the prohibitives (e.g. adhesive tape, metal piece etc.) from recovered paper.
  • ※Please separate by type such as newspapers, magazines and carton boxes and tie with string.
  • ※Classification of recovered paper may differ depending on the region. Please check with your municipal government for more information.


Non-recyclable paper products
Waterproof paper Paper cup, paper tray, paper container for cup noodle,
paper container for yoghurt, oil paper, wax paper
Paper with a large amount of ink Back carbon paper, carbonless paper, thermal paper
Paper with adhesive substances
Paper with smell Paper box for soap, detergent and incense stick, etc
Dye transfer paper Iron printing paper
Thermosensitive paper Paper with the property of swelling up when the heat is applies
Synthetic paper
Laminated paper
Crimped postcard
・Adhesive tapes ・Stickers ・Metal parts on folders
・Metal clips ・Films ・Polystyrene foam ・Cellophane
・Plastic items ・Glass items ・Cloth

Kinds of recycled paper products and recovered paper

Paper products containing recovered paper such as newspapers, magazines, carton boxes, candy boxes, toilet papers, copy paper have been in use for a long time in every aspect of our life. Today, a much wider variety of products contain recovered paper, helped by the advancement of the paper recycling technology. While recovered paper is used in products other than paper products, poorly sorted paper is, in some cases, mixed and solidified with waste plastics into RPF in order to recover the thermal energy as fuel.

Japan has a long history of efficient collection and recycling of recoverd paper. Sorted collection of recovered paper and the diverse collection channels for different recovered paper streams are examples of the highly sophisticated recoverd paper distribution system of the Japanese society. The recoverd paper distribution system of Japan continues to evolve with the change in time and of lifestyle, as represented by the collection from large accounts such as printing plants and newspaper companies as well as from supermarkets and other businesses, group collection, the collection by local governments. New programs also include a sorted collection of milk cartons and office paper.

Use of major recovered paper grades
Recovered paper distribution channel(2019)