International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

ISSN 2229-5518

Scenario of paper waste recycling and reuse practices in Khulna city of Bangladesh

Riyad A.S.M.

AbstractEverywhere you look you see one thing: paper. From posters and notebooks to cardboard boxes and magazines, paper is part of our everyday lives. Used paper and paper products are important raw material for paper and board industry. Recycling paper conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and keeps landfill space free for other types of trash that can't be recycled. This study helps to scrutiny the existing management process and introduces a new proposal of sustainable management scheme to increase the capacity of the existing recycling and reuse practices. A structured questionnaire survey has been conducted in Khulna city located in the southern part of Bangladesh and ranked third largest city in the country and wastes collecte d from different paper industries were segregated and weighed. The total waste generation rate in Khulna city area was estimated to be 0.35 kg/cap/day and hence the total yield of waste in the city area was found to be 520 tons/day where only paper wastes contribut e to almost

9.5% of this total amount. This large quantity of paper contents present in the Khulna's waste composition indicates the necessity for

frequent collection and removal. This also indicates the potentials of recycling of paper wastes for resource recovery. Paper mills purchase additional post-consumer waste paper based on fiber strength, fiber yield and brightness according to the type of product produced. Khulna Newsprint Mills (KNM) a prime newsprint paper producing industrial unit of Bangladesh in the public sector. For the reuses of paper waste materials and products, a chain system was found to collect reusable wastes under a total number of 49 identified PRM with about 136 persons directly or indirectly involved in the scheme. This study revealed that apparently a silent, systematic, smooth, and clean recycling chain has been established in Khulna city area under private initiatives, whose sustainability was confirmed over the years in the country without any official or formal funds. However, proper adjustment between the higher and lower chain in the materials flow pat h, as well as personal hygiene training for the workers, would further improve the achievements of the established recycling scheme.

Index TermsSolid waste, recycling, carton, paper, old used books, Khulna, reuse.

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olid waste management (SWM) is one of the critical concerns facing the developing countries because of the social, economic and environmental implementations once not properly managed. Studies shows that only 30-
50% of the waste generated in developing countries is collected and managed properly (Dawit and Alebel, 2003). Higher recycling rates for valuable materials from waste streams could play a significant role substituting for virgin material production and saving fossil resources (Tonini and Astrup, 2012). Recycling is clearly a waste-management strat- egy, but it can also be seen as one current example of imple- menting the concept of industrial ecology, whereas in a natu- ral ecosystem there are no wastes but only products (Frosch & Gallopoulos 1989; McDonough & Braungart 2002). The urban areas of Asia now spend about US$25 billion on solid waste management per year, with this figure increasing to at least US$50 billion in 2025 (World Bank, 1999). Generally, solid waste planners place too much emphasis on residential waste; this waste represents only about 30% of the overall municipal waste stream, but often receives the lion’s share of attention (World Bank, 1999). The waste components requiring priority attention in Asia are organics and paper (World Bank, 1999).


Riyad, A.S.M., Undergraduate Student; Dept. of Civil Enineering, Khulna

University of Engineering & Technology, Khulna-9203, Bangladesh,

PH-+8801825281736. E-mail:
Thus, an appropriate solid waste management scheme is nec- essary to face global environmental challenges in the 21st cen- tury. More specifically, solid waste problems in developing countries are aggravated by the malfunctioning of traditional waste management systems due to the rapid development and the concentration of the population (Deshmukh et al., 2002). The total population of developing countries accounts for more than 70% of the world’s population (JICA, 2005). Waste management in these countries is of grave concern from two points of view. Firstly, the process of urbanization and popu- lation concentration that is inextricably linked to waste man- agement issues is progressing at a pace that is much faster than was ever experienced by today’s industrialized countries (DESA, 2011). The issue of waste management in developing countries, therefore, has emerged as a critical and impending disaster. Secondly, these countries often have difficulty in streamlining the institutional systems, administrative bodies, management capabilities and human resources that are need- ed to take the lead in solving solid waste problems (UNEP,
Khulna, the third largest city of Bangladesh with a large
population has been a place of commercial importance for
more than 150 years. Management of solid waste in the munic- ipal area is the responsibility of KCC. Average total per capita
waste generation rate of KCC area is estimated at 0.35 kg/cap/day. Total waste generation is calculated at 520 tons/day where paper waste forms almost 9.5% of this total waste (Waste safe 2005). The main motive of this study is to introduce a sustainable management process for paper waste recycling which is beneficial in economic consideration and defend the working environment from its harmful effect.

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

ISSN 2229-5518



2.1 Selection of study area

Khulna, the third largest city of Bangladesh, is located in the southern part of the country and is situated below the tropic of cancer, around the intersection of latitude 22.490N and longi- tude 89.340E. The area of Khulna city is 47 square km with a population 1.5 million (BBS, 2009). With regards to investigat- ing the activities of paper waste recycling, a field survey was conducted in the Khulna city area. The shops for recycling materials (PRMs) were developed in the vicinity of three types of transportation modes such as the city railway station, city river port and a local truck stand. The selected study sites for PRM in Khulna city were: Khalishpur (KP), Daulatpur (DP), Railway Market (RM), Power House (PH), and other places (OPs) which cover Moilapota (MP), Gollamari and the Lo- bonchora area (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Location of study areas in Khulna city of Bangladesh

2.2 Data Collection & Analysis

Both primary and secondary data were collected in doing this research. Primary data, such as the opinion from waste collec- tors, recyclable dealers, industry workers and KCC officials through in depth interview. Secondary data, such as statis- tics and reports on the quantity of solid waste generated and its composition and management practices of Khulna has been collected by searching previous study, books and journals etc.
The data has been interpreted in a quite simple and
straightforward way. The important points were noted, sort- ed and classified from the information obtained from observa- tions and interviews.


3.1 Recycling trade chain

From survey, it is clear that private sectors are responsible for recycling of solid waste in Khulna city. The waste collectors from private sectors are playing a prominent role in collection of recyclables as a main source of income. At the lowest stra- tum of the recycling industry is the wastebin tokais. They are visible in every community of the city and come from nearby slums and squatter settlements. It is estimated that at present
1312 tokais are working in KCC area. Feriwallas are the buyers of separated recyclable items stored for selling at the primary source. This study reveals that there are around 695 feriwallas involved in the chain of recycling network of Khulna. The small recyclable dealers (SRDs) purchase waste materials from tokais and feriwallas in exchange of money. More than 277
SRDs in Khulna accept all types of waste from tokais and fer- iwallas and sell the recovered materials to medium recyclable dealers (MRDs). The MRDs usually deals with more than two kinds of specific wastes and passes these recyclable to the large recyclable dealers (LRDs) that essentially specialize in specific wastes. There are about 140 medium recyclable deal- ers in Khulna. They employ 5 to 7 people to segregate the waste. In KCC area there are about 33 LRDs. They receive their supply from all over Khulna and also from Chittagong. Most of the LRDs employ 12 to 15 people to sort, clean and sell the recovered materials to industries both in the formal and the private sectors. They do not buy directly from the waste collectors. One of the important reasons for this is the variable quantity and small quantity. Trade between LRDs and RIs is more formal than the existing relationships among the SRDs and tokais. Sometimes LRDs use their own transport may be a tricycle (rickshaw van) or open truck. The price of these mate- rials varies with the supply and demand of the market. Table 1 show that a feriwalla fetches highest amount of paper (37.56%) every day. Most of the papers comprise of newspapers, maga- zines, books and other source separated clean papers.

3.2 Recycling shops and reuse scheme in Khulna city

There are few numbers of papers recycling shop in Khulna. Scrap papers were recycled in a factory to reprocess paper products. The paper materials were found to be the second highest, 9.5% by weight, of all the total waste components gen- erated in the city area (Moniruzzaman, 2007). Including corru- gated cardboard, high grade paper and mixed paper typically accounted for 39% of the total recyclable wastes collected by different collectors and dealers. A paper-recycling factory usual- ly recycled damaged articles and scrap papers and finally pro- duced card board and thin papers. The secondary products from card boards were packets for sweets, shoes, electrical fit- tings, cartons, etc. Another use of this card board was for book binding. The thin recycled papers were used to produce shop- ping bags especially for clothes stores. The world has a huge appetite for paper, even in these days of the so-called ‘paper-

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

ISSN 2229-5518




cating paper of 68 gsm and tissue paper of 28-29 gsm. The processes of paper recycling in steps are shown in Fig.3 & 4. Much of the virgin paper is not recycled and ends up buried in landfill. Recyclable paper can be ruined by mixing it with oth- er materials such as food scraps. This means the paper cannot be recycled and has to be sent to landfill. The fact that paper degrades quite slowly in a landfill situation counts against it. It has been estimated that the recovery rate of paper in India is only 26%, compared to Thailand’s 45%, China’s 38%, and Germany’s 80% (Cybermedia, 2009). The reason for this is mainly due to low levels of awareness among the public, as well as the unorganized nature of the business.
(Source: Waste Concern, 2005)
Waste paper
Sorting &
Granular Washing system
less’ office. Global paper consumption is currently running at more than 350 million tons per year and rapidly approaching an unsustainable one million tons per day (EPN, 2007). In Fig. 2, Informal waste recovery and recycling network in Khulna city has been shown.
Hard thick paper
Mecha. mixer
Flotation tank

Fig. 3. Typical flow diagram for the paper recycling industry

Fig. 2. Informal waste recovery and recycling network in Khulna city. Note that Apart from bone and paper, all other retrieved materials are transported to industries located in other cities as raw materials for new products.

Fig. 4. Mixing and rolling in a paper mill

Grocer reuses one portion of discarded paper by making packets. Paper mills have always recycled damaged product and scrap from converters such as Sattar Paper Mill. Paper mills purchase additional post-consumer waste paper based on fiber strength, fiber yield and brightness according to the type of product produced. Khulna Newsprint Mills (KNM) a prime newsprint paper producing industrial unit of Bangla- desh in the public sector. The initial production capacity of KNM was 50,000 tons, distributed as newsprint (23,000 tons), mechanical print papers (17,000 tons) and lightweight papers like blue match, tissue and wraps (10,000 tons). KNM has about 3,000 workers and other employees. The mill consumes
20 million gallons of water, 350,000 kilowatt of electricity and
33,600 gallons of furnace oil daily to produce papers of differ-
ent qualities and weight. The types of paper produced include
newsprint of 52 and 48.8 gram per square metre (gsm), bluish white print of 50-60 gsm, coloured paper of 55-60 gsm, wrap-
ping paper of 42-125 gsm, blue match papers of 42 gsm, dupli-
The shops for reusable material (PRM) use to sell and buy the valuable parts of paper waste materials for their further use. These shops were classified into four groups according to the materials dealt with: paper carton, book, paper, and mixed items (Table 2). Most of the shops were small in size with few workers, 1–3 (average 1.75 per PRM), and located near Khulna Railway Market and Powerhouse Truck Station areas. From the field survey it was found that the major reusable materials were different types of papers, paper products (packets), books, etc.
Specific outcomes of this study for major reusable materials were delineated in the following sections

3.2.1 Cartons

A total number of 12 SRM were found to dealing with differ- ent types of cartons or packaging boxes. Mostly, they handled

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

ISSN 2229-5518


around 80–500 kg cartons every day for each shop as shown in Table 3. They used to buy cartons about @Tk 10 per kg and sale @ Tk 12 per kg. The activities had been continuing smoothly under a systematic chain which gradually increased the reuse of the materials and hence reduced the total waste generation (Fig. 5).



Place (paper)




Mixed of all






5 (5)

9 (9)






1 (1)

3 (3)




6 (12)








5 (13)


1 (1)







4 (4)




6 (12)

5 (13)

6 (7)

17 (17)

34 (49)


Average worker (internal including owner+ external)

1.75 + 1.02

Total worker (internal including owner+ external)


Total worker


() Number including all identified PRM from preliminary survey

a Number of external workers.



Shop no. Waste Product
Types Amount

(kg d-1)
Types Price (Tk/kg)
01 Cartons 400-500 10 Cartons 12
02 Paper 75-200 12-23 Paper 15-25
03 Cartons 340-420 10.50 Cartons 12
04 Paper 85-160 11-22 Paper 13-23
05 Cartons 370-500 10-20 Cartons 11-21
06 Paper 600-800 - Small paper -
07 Cartons 80-120 12.50 Cartons 13.50
08 Cartons 500 10 Cartons 12
Average of carton 373b

Average of paper 320b

b kg d-1 per PRM; (1 Euro=105 Taka, September 30, 2013)..

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

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3.2.2 Old books



Most of the PRM for old books were found in close proximity to Power House and Railway market area. A total number of
13 PRM for old books were identified in Khulna city area. Among those, five PRM were surveyed in detail and the in- formation was documented in Table 4. Usually, those PRM had been dealing with all kinds of books. Their buying capaci- ty varied in the range of TK 750–1500 per day, while sales ranged from around Tk 900 to 2200 per day. Most of the good looking books were bought by students and other books by different shopkeepers for packaging purposes (Fig. 6).



*Calculated value (considering a price calculated from Table 3 for paper as

15Tk kg-1)

ing to their size. The price of the packet was not assigned ac- cording to the sizes but to the weights. The price of different sized paper packets were approximately Tk 50 per kg. The quantity of books, papers and mixed papers that were reused every day were 0.85, 2.07 and 3.32 tons, respectively in Khulna city.

Fig. 5. Activities observed on production of cartons in Khulna

Fig. 7. Different sizes of paper bags produced from recycled pa- pers in Khulna




Fig. 6. Shops for buying and selling of books in Khulna city area.

3.2.3 Paper reuses

Paper packets have been used traditionally by all the shop- keepers to sell consumer goods. These packets were made of new papers or used papers (including newspaper, books and used office paper) by informal cottage industries. Used papers were collected from different SRM or directly from the com- munity in residential areas. Subsequently, different sizes and types of paper packets were made using glue and papers (Fig.
7). The number of different sizes of paper packets per kg was given in Table 5. The number of packets varied widely accord-
A total number of 17 PRM in mixed of different solid waste were identified in Khulna city area. Among those, eight PRM were surveyed in detail and the information was documented in Table 6.

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 5, Issue 3, March-2014

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Shop no.


Total amount of paper, plastic and

metal (kg d-1)

Estimated amount paper* (kg d-1)



































*Calculation based on the ratio paper:plastic:metal = 2.65:1:2.15, which was derived from another study by Moniruzzaman (2007).

3.2.4 Quantities of paper reused in Khulna city

The estimated total quantity of waste per category was shown in Table 7. The total quantity of waste materials and products subjected to reuse under all PRMs was estimated at an average
10.94 ton d-1. In fact, this part of reused waste materials had not been entered into the waste stream for disposal. Both the recycled and reused materials (mostly paper and plastics) had a level of moisture content less than 8.5%, while the municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in Bangladesh had an average moisture content of around 65% (Bari, 1999).





New proposed management process progressed by the follow- ing diagram (Fig. 8). In this process, In this process, firstly generated solid waste are recognized and these are stored sep- arately in different bins according to their types such as plastic bins, glass bins etc. Different colors bins are used for storage. It is helpful to differentiate the storage materials. Recycling fac- tory should have one divisional factory in every district. NGO/ Recycling Factory agent of Pouroshova/City Corpora- tion in urban area collect paper waste from household/office. In rural area, thana collectors collect the waste and transfer these to pouroshova/city corporation. District branch collec- tors collect the waste and separate it according to types such as parts of books, newspapers, cartons etc. In divisional recy- cling factory, workers of different units separate the recyclable and non-recyclable wastes and then recycle the recyclable waste separately. New products go to the consumer hand and reuse it. Non-recyclable wastes are properly transported to landfill site for converting into compost/fertilizer and after processing deliver to the consumer.


In summary, recycling is one strategy for end-of-life waste management of paper products. Paper waste management has assumed great significance in view of the urbanization activi- ties in Khulna. KNM has about 3,000 workers and other em- ployees. A silent, systematic, smooth-running and clean reuse chain has been established in Khulna city area managed en- tirely by the private sector. A total number of 49 shops for re- usable materials (PRMs) were identified in the city area in which 136 people were employed in different activities of the established reuse scheme. According to mass balance, about
10.94 tons d-1 paper wastes were recycled and reused in the Khulna city area which accounted for 2.10% of the total gener- ated wastes. This study revealed that the solid waste reuse pattern in the Khulna city area has become quiet established; however, further extensive public motivation would increase the number of other reusable items as well as the amount of total reusable materials. The formulated general physical model suggests that the large number of waste wholesale shops in the city area should be properly adjusted with their upper and lower chains in order to improve the overall reuse and recycling scheme. Furthermore, a comprehensive training program on personal hygiene was deemed imperative for the workers in all reuse schemes. Particularly, the outcome of this study would provide data for any future endeavor concerning the reuse and recycling of solid wastes in cities and towns in- developing countries.

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Solid waste generation

Storage of solid waste in different pans according to their types

Urban Area (Pouroshova/City Corporation) Households/ Office

Rural Area


NGO/Factory Agent (Pouroshova/City Corporation) Sub-Branch collectors

NGO/Factory Agent

(Thana) Collectors

NGO/Factory Agent _ District-Branch

(Separation/ Product wise Categorization)

Divisional Paper Waste Recycling Factory



Processing section


Marketing as New Products

Convert into compost/fertilizer

Consumers Hand

Sold in the market

Fig. 8. Proposed management process of paper waste


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