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Waste Paper Grade Definitions for Recycling 


The South African Standard Grades of Recovered Paper and Board provides an overview of the standard waste paper grades accepted for recycling. It is acknowledged that additional agreements between buyers and suppliers may still be necessary to cater to specific needs. The use of the standard is recommended across the industry to ensure the quality of the recovered paper supply to paper mills.


The term out-throws is defined as “all papers that are manufactured or treated or are in such a form as to be unsuitable for consumption as the grade specified”.

Prohibitive Materials

Prohibitive materials are those items which, if included in the recovered paper, may cause damage to machines or interruptions during processing and production.

Specific examples include

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Textiles
  • Wood
  • Sand and building materials
  • Synthetic materials
  • Synthetic paper

Moisture Content in Recovered Paper & Board

Recovered paper and board will in principle be supplied with moisture of not more than the naturally occurring level – where the moisture content is higher than 10% on paper and 12% on kraft/board (of air-dried weight), the additional weight in excess of the allowed percentage may be claimed back.


Method of Testing & Sampling

The equipment to be used for testing is either:

  • Emco AP 500 hand gauge (or equipment with similar specifications)
  • Oven dry method
  • Aquabouy

In both cases a random representative sample will be taken and subject to testing by one or other of the above methods as agreed between buyer and seller. When new or advanced technology becomes available these procedures may change and will be communicated by way of revised schedule.

Grades Definitions

Grade Code Contents Prohibitive materials allowed Total out-throws may not exceed
Mixed paper [CMW] A mixture of various grades of paper and board without restriction on fibre content. 1% 10%
Cartonboard cuttings [IMW] Consists of new cuttings of paperboard as are used in the manufacture of folding paper cartons and similar boxboard products. 1% 2%
Mechanical grades special news [SN]
Consists of newspaper, magazines and sorted graphic paper from Kerbside and other post consumer collections. All kraft paper must be removed.
 1% 3%
Over issue news [FN] Consists of over run unsold newspapers containing not more than the normal percentage of inserts, no flexographic printed material allowed. None permitted 1%
Magazine [SBM] Consists of unsold magazines and trims from magazine printers including catalogues, brochures with or without latex bindings. May contain up to 10% of uncoated news type paper. None permitted 2%
Special magazine [SSBM] Unsold magazines and trims from magazine printers, including catalogues, brochures without latex bindings. May contain a small percentage of news type paper. None permitted 2%
High grades 
white one
Consists of unprinted white woodfree paper or board, off cuts or shavings free from water insoluble matter.
None permitted None permitted
Heavy letter one [HL1] Consists of white printed or unprinted sheets, shavings originating from printers or office records. This grade must be free of heavily printed or coloured stock and non water soluble adhesives. None permitted 2%
Heavy letter two [HL2] Consists of pastel coloured printed or unprinted sheets, shavings and cuttings originating from printers or office records. This grade must be free of heavily printed or coloured stock and non water soluble adhesives. 1% 2%
Super mix [SMW] Consists of mix of HL1 / HL2 in ratio 50% HL1, 50% HL2. This grade must be free of non water soluble adhesives. 1% 2%
Sorted office paper [SOP] Consists of paper as typically generated by offices, containing primarily white and coloured groundwood free paper, free of unbleached fibre. May include a small percentage of carbonless paper. 1% 5%
Kraft grades corrugated containers [K4] Consists of corrugated containers having liners of kraft or test liner. 1% 5%
New corrugated kraft waste [K3] Consists of new corrugated cuttings, sheets and unused boxes as generated by corrugating convertors having liners of kraft or test liner. None permitted 2%
Unused kraft bags [K1] Consists of new kraft multi wall bag cuttings, sheets and misprint bags, free of stitched papers, poly liners and wet strength paper. None permitted 2%
Special grades liquid board packaging [LBP]
Used or unused liquid packaging boards including used polyethylene (PE) – coated liquid packaging board (with or without aluminium content). Containing a minimum of 50% by weight of fibres and the balance being aluminium or coatings.
None permitted 3%
Telephone directories [TD] Consists of clean telephone directories printed for or by telephone directory publishers. None permitted 2%

Fibre Circle has non-profit/public benefit tax status. PAMDEV NPC (trading as Fibre Circle) has public benefit organisation status. It has also been registered with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (formerly Environmental Affairs).

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