Every year, about 50% of the paper Americans use is recovered for recycling and other uses.

Some paper is made from trees, either small trees harvested just for that purpose, or from leftover sawmill scraps. A second source of papermaking material is recycled fiber. Each year, more and more paper is recycled, its fibers used a second, third or fourth time. Every year, about 50% of the paper Americans use is recovered for recycling and other uses.

Almost all of the paper in use today is made of wood fibers. Some specialty papers, like stationery and money, are made from linen, cotton, or other plants. Other papers contain a combination of cellulose fibers and synthetics such as latex. Still others are made completely from synthetic materials such as polyolefine. You might find latex in a waterproof mariner’s chart, or polyolefine in a rugged courier envelope.

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How Paper is Made

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