Paper or Plastic? Yes, but Not as a Mixture

Martin A. Hubbe

Abstract


As expressed by the chorus lyrics of a song by Dan Einbender, “it really isn’t garbage ‘til you mix it all together. It really isn’t garbage ‘til you throw it away. Separate your paper, plastic, compost, glass and metal. Then you get to use it all another day.” It’s worth paying attention to these lyrics once again in the face of yet another type of product that is starting to show up in stores. Extruded sheets of polyethylene (no. 2 plastic) with as much as 80% ground calcium carbonate content are being sold as “paper”. Calcium carbonate is widely used as a component of real paper. However, it rubs me the wrong way when the word “paper” is being used to refer to something that has no fibers in it and is not formed on a screen and dried. My more serious concern is that such materials, if they become widely used, have the potential to contaminate paper recycling operations.

Keywords


Paper recycling; Plastic contamination; Stone paper; Extrusion; Recyclability

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126