In many parts of the European Union, people can put old newspapers and other waste paper to one side, and dispose of them separately from household refuse. In 1998, 35 million tonnes of waste paper and cardboard were recycled in the EU. That meant that the EU as a whole was twice as advanced as the USA when it came to collecting waste paper.
The Corelex plant in Kawasaki, Japan, is the first "zero waste" paper recycling plant in the world. The discharge water channel ends in a small pond in front of the plant with several healthy gold fish. The smoke house (a small attractive round wood structure) is used for parties. Unlike many paper plants, which struggle over "stickies" and landfill growing mountains of sludge, this new plant can easily take all manner of mixed paper, binders, paper with plastic clips, metal parts, and aseptic poly-coated paper with no problem. The system soaks the incoming paper for longer periods that a standard hydra-pulper. The pulp is de-inked, sterilized and bleached with hydrogen peroxide. The sludge is passed through a screw press to squeeze out much of the water, then burned in a boiler at 800-900 degrees C. The energy from burning the sludge and the polyethylene help run the plant. The material passed into a huge tissue maker, which runs a mile a minute, making 150 tonnes of toilet paper daily. The only waste product is some ash, which is used for filler in a concrete product by another plant nearby.