Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Paper Recycling Evolved

Paper is recycled yes, but there is a step that can be skipped.
(+4, -4)
  [vote for,

As paper is recycled, it is broken down, mixed into a pulpy soup and bleached. Why does it have to be bleached? because it was printed on.

Look at your average printed paper.. what percentage of actual paper is printed on? What percentage of every bit of the paper has been touched by ink? On average, I would say, not even over 50%, and I think that's being generous.

Why not cut out these parts only? It is the equivalent of taking a whole puncher and punching out all the places on the paper that ink has touched.

The benefits of this of course are obvious: The removal for a full-strength bleaching bath at the recycling plant. Maybe a little bleach is needed for general whitening but no where near the required amount for just paper with all it's printed ink. Also, with paper punched and not shreaded, it would be more difficult to reconstitute a shreaded piece of paper. It would not be strips, or those little diamond paper pieces, it would be hole-punch sized pieces of paper. It would increase security because the pieces of paper have very little reference to where they belong in the whole.

Now, how is this thing to be built? the technology is already here, it's been here for a while. Scanners have the necessary scanning capability to see where the ink is on the paper. A paper would be inserted into a the device much like it is inserted into a regular document shreader. It is scanned while simultaneously, a small computer tells a row of actuated punches when to punch, according to when the scanner sees non-white.

Being able to have batches of pure white paper ready to be recycled would save recyclers' money, which makes recycled paper cheaper, which encourages recycling. It reduces the amount of bleaching needed, which is better for the environment (haven't really looked into how bleaching would affect the environment, but I assume it is not a positive effect).

The hurdles of this idea are how to handle multiple sheets of paper, as well as the problem with staples, implying multiple sheets of paper. It seemed possible that a machine would be able to separate stacks of paper much like how a printer does, but I was thinking of having all the sheets of paper to be recycled, stacked and then the machine would cut off all the corners, and with it, the staples. You would give up a couple corner's worth of paper to be recycled but would simplify the machine.

A possible solution would be to build this thing as a larger machine, meant to be used in recycling plants. It would have all the necessary components to remove staples, separate paper from stackes and process paper at a very fast rate. I'm sure that if they were going to save more money by eliminating another process, they would have no problem. Environmentally, it is better. Economically, it takes a step away, but adds another (maybe), but depending on how much each process costs, in supplies, time, labor, all associated costs, it could save them money immediately.

twitch, Jun 09 2007

Thiosulfate http://antoine.fros...s/thiosulfate.shtml
Of course, it costs more [Ling, Jun 09 2007]


       WHAT! A bone with no comment? That was a slap in my face.   

       It looks like from the link, this idea would also eliminate some use of thiosulfate as well as chlorine.   

       Do I care that Thiosulfate renders chlorine inert, yeah, a little, but not too much. It only means that now, you'd be extracting less thiosulfate and less chlorine from our earth.   

       Are sulfates inert in themselves or do they harm? I know there's low-sulfur diesel now, does that mean sulfer is a smog creator?
twitch, Jun 09 2007

       bun for unfair negative-vote-sans-comment, and because it is highly inefficient and that makes me giggle.
CaptainClapper, Jun 09 2007

       what's inefficient about it?
twitch, Jun 10 2007

       // A bone with no comment? That was a slap in my face. //   

       Experience suggests that it wasn't a slap in your face, but the result of someone (who might wish to remain anonymous, but is sometimes known as the 'autoboner') using a negative vote as part of their unorthodox view-filtering mechanism. Wasn't me, by the way - my point is just, "Don't take it personally".
pertinax, Jun 10 2007

       Better, I think, to cut up the paper into small squares, then drop the squares from a conveyor into a slot, with banks of scanners observing the falling paper front and back. Seeing a contaminated square, a jet of air blows it away from the slot.
ldischler, Jun 10 2007

       If you pulped the paper completely back up you'd probably be able to separate out the ink using a centrifuge. By weight, the ratio of ink to paper is probably less than 1%, after all, none of that ink bleeds on to the back of the paper... usually.
ye_river_xiv, Jun 10 2007

       You could go and cut everything up into smaller squares, but cutting everything up like that, in my opinion, would degrade the quality of it, by generally shortening the overall fiber length of the paper/pulp.
twitch, Jun 10 2007

       I just got an image in my mind. Little pape cutouts of croissants falling into a bin by the millions. Back to reality. This idea is about replacing a chemical process with a mechanical process.
twitch, Jun 11 2007

       Erm, what should be done with the millions of little black cut-outs?
Ling, Jun 12 2007

       What else? Use it to make black construction paper! Or a shade of grey?
twitch, Jun 12 2007

       Ah, of course, black newspapers with white ink!
Ling, Jun 12 2007

       Construction paper, dope. Not newspaper. If it is biodegradable non-toxic ink. Use it as cellulose insulation.
twitch, Jun 12 2007


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