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Fascinating Silicone™ Eco-Innovation

Silicones: Improving the paper recycling process

Silicones improve paper recycling, which helps preserve our forests.Recycled fiber accounts for nearly half the raw material used in the manufacture of paper products today. Paper recycling is an important practice that helps preserve the forests that are such an important part of our delicate ecosystem.

But there are some challenges with paper recycling. Traditional de-inking technology (which removes ink from paper) uses caustic chemicals that degrade the strength of the paper fibers. These chemicals also require the use of special waste water treatment methods for environmental safety.

A study by the Dow Corning Corporation has shown that silicone offers significant benefits over traditional de-inking methods. The surface activity of silicones can remove ink from paper under neutral conditions. This eliminates the need for caustic chemicals. Silicone de-inking technology has other benefits as well. It:

  • Improves fiber strength, reducing the need for virgin fiber (a more costly raw material that comes at the expense of our forests)
  • Reduces the chemical oxygen demand on the waste water system, leading to better water quality
  • Improves separation of fiber and ash, reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill
  • Reduces the number and amount of chemicals required

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