The recycling of paper is the process by which waste paper is turned into new paper products. It has a number of important benefits besides saving trees from being cut down. It is less energy and water intensive than paper made from wood pulp. It saves waste paper from occupying landfill and producing methane as it breaks down. Around two thirds of all paper products in the US are now recovered and recycled, although it does not all become new paper. After repeated processing the fibers become too short for the production of new paper.
There are three categories of paper that can be used as feedstocks for making recycled paper: mill broke, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste. Mill broke is paper trimmings and other paper scrap from the manufacture of paper, and is recycled in a paper mill. Pre-consumer waste is a material which left the paper mill but was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. Post-consumer waste is material discarded after consumer use, such as old corrugated containers (OCC), old magazines, and newspapers. Paper suitable for recycling is called “scrap paper”, often used to produce moulded pulp packaging.