The benefits to standard high-volume recycling mills from including sack kraft paper in the fibre furnish

Paper sacks are made from renewable raw materials. The virgin fibres in paper sacks are sourced from sustainably managed forests, using as a starting point the capacity of forests to bind CO2. Paper sacks store carbon and the recycling of paper and board products delays this CO2 from returning to the atmosphere. Subsequently, the recycling of paper sacks at end-of-life should be encouraged and pursued.

CEPI Eurokraft and Eurosac commissioned independent research that demonstrates that not only are unused and used paper sacks perfectly recyclable but that they also offer product and process benefits when incorporated into the recovered paper fibre furnish. The results of this systematic and independent analysis challenges long-standing and engrained perceptions that sack kraft paper and paper sacks present problems for recycling.

The results were published in Paper Technology International “Investigating the papermaking potential from recycling kraft paper sacks with standard high-volume paper mills” and revealed that the majority of paper sacks placed on the market in Europe are recyclable also in standard high-volume paper mills as assessed using Cepi recyclability test methodology. This important study also identified that the inclusion of fresh long sack kraft fibres enhanced the strength of recycled paper. Increasing sack kraft fibre content also improved pulp drainage which offers potential to save mill energy. The work provides, for the first time, unequivocal evidence that kraft paper sacks can be recycled in standard mills and that the long fibres increase paper sheet mechanical properties and improve pulp drainage rates.