Making paper recycling in China more sustainable 2

Making paper recycling in China more sustainable

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Led by Associate Professor Ali Abbas, the WTRH will identify where and how the company can improve their water use and water treatment processes, which can be applied to the whole paper making industry in the future.

The Chinese Government’s new waste import policy released in January 2018 restricts the contamination limit of recyclable materials. The new regulations are designed to reduce pollution and prevent illegal recyclers from operating by reducing supply. They have also had the effect of encouraging major Chinese manufacturing companies like Dongguan Jianhui Paper Co, to improve their practices.

“Paper recycling plants use a lot of water, which they require to treat the wastepaper during the recycling process. Because of the Chinese Government’s stricter environmental protection guidelines for recycling plants many companies are looking for ways to enhance water efficiency,” Associate Professor Abbas said.

“Dongguan Jianhui is already doing very well and meeting its obligations, however they want to do more and become a leader in the field, that’s why they are partnering with us.

“Our researchers can help by looking at the paper company’s current operations. We can use the data to develop a model to help operators in the plant make decisions that will improve water efficiency and usage, as well as enhance water recovery.”

The plant has several steps to treat the water required to clean wastepaper, including coagulation and oxidation processes where chemicals are used to remove contaminants. The addition of such chemicals is currently being done at sub-optimal levels which is costly and results in the reduction of the quality of the produced paper. Changes in the feed water being used and in the wastepaper feedstock adds a challenge to the plant, as it has to cope and change its process conditions accordingly.

“We will work with the company to help reduce the chemical oxygen demand through a scientific approach; we want to reduce the amount of chemicals dosed in the water without compromising water quality.” Associate Professor Abbas said.

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