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Subject: Recycled paper

Recycled paper

From: Ellen McCrady <whenry>
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 1992
In response to Shirley Martin's query ("Wed. 19 May 1991"), on whether
recycled content can be reconciled with permanence in paper, there is
some reason for concern, though I don't believe today's recycled paper
is nearly as bad as the stuff we had to use in 1972. The equipment and
procedures at the mills are much better now.  The big unknown now is in
the collection and sorting, prior to deinking.  Lignin and miscellaneous
junk tends to work its way into the system.  There is no way to sort out
all paper containing lignin, and it does show up in the finished paper,
so recycled paper will tend to yellow faster.

BUT the new permanence standards exclude lignin, so if you want the
paper you buy to last and not to yellow, you can specify that it meet
the ANSI, ASTM or (if they ever get finished) ISO standards.  This means
using two sets of specs for the same purchase, one for recycled paper
and one for permanent paper.  It isn't easy, because the standards are
expensive to buy and they are not sold by the library supply houses or
other convenient sources.  They are hard to understand, and most people
do not have the test equipment to check up on the supplier.  However,
you can at least ask for alkaline paper; that gets you halfway there.
You can use published lists of permanent recycled paper, like I publish
in the Alkaline Paper Advocate and which I hope will be reprinted in
more widely circulated publications.  You can simply memorize the main
specs for permanence (pH over 7.5, 2% calcium carbonate, <1% lignin, and
reasonable strength for the purpose you have in mind) so you can discuss
them with friends and suppliers.  You can buy some phloroglucinol and C
Stain and do your own spot tests for lignin (it's fun--call the AIC for
"Edition" 10 of the Paper Conservation Catalog, which costs about $8 and
gives you $1000 worth of information; it's on spot tests and gives
sources and instructions).

The issue of paper permanence always was important, but the recycled
paper issue has made it even more important.  Everyone who wants to buy
permanent paper should learn how to do it if they can, and if they know
how already, they should tell their friends.  I can help by sending
information and answering questions; call me at 801/373-1598 (the Abbey
Publications office).

                  Conservation DistList Instance 5:55
                    Distributed: Friday, May 8, 1992
                        Message Id: cdl-5-55-001
Received on Wednesday, 6 May, 1992

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