Ink is Green
Benjamin Chung
Britannia Community Secondary
Floor Location : M 010 D

Paper recycling introduces about 20% of "unrecyclable" waste into the landfill known as deinking sludge. This >9 pH byproduct consists of plastics, fillers, fibers, ink, and other chemical compounds which is detrimental to the environment considering the traditional disposal methods of landspreading, landfilling, and incineration. Some environmentalists even suggest that recycling paper is worse for the environment than making new paper because of the sludge. My experiment is to create a process to recycle ink back from this sludge. I have specifically taken sorted office paper (SOP) to deink and to collect its deinking sludge. From this, I can predict that the only insoluble contaminants would be calcium oleate and fibers from the paper. Through the use of one of the solvents xylene, benzene, chloroform (in this case xylene), carbon black can be removed from the sludge in the form of a suspension resulting instead in a less harmful byproduct and financial gain to the industry. The efficiency of this process can be calculated by taking the carbon black pigment (weight) extracted over the total carbon black pigment (weight) in the deinking sludge. The environmental and economical impacts of this new process will be assessed in order to discover whether its efficiency is great enough to merit its viability in the paper and pulp industry. The efficiency can also be extrapolated to find out how much monetary gain is achieved with this process. The suspension also has many application paths; it can be sold as it is, combined with a silylating agent for use in inkjet printer fluid, or put through a centrifuge and decanted to obtain its pure form. It is with hope that this project will introduce the idea that what is "unrecyclable" may actually hold some hidden gems, that we can't give up on the little things may seem insignificant.