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Deink paper sludge is a solid powdered or granular compound mainly composed by 60-65% of an inorganic fraction (calcium carbonate and silico-aluminates), 25-30% of cellulose, with a variable humidity content (below 15%) according to manufacturing process and storage conditions. Deink paper sludge represents 20-25% of the recycled waste paper used to produce tissue paper. An estimation of the deink paper sludge production in Italy accounts for 400.000 ton/year.
Deink paper sludge is classified non-hazardous special waste, and juridically it can be recovered and reused as raw material. Presently this material is reused to produce paper, in the brick industry, in building conglomerates, in road foundations and for environmental restoration operations, such as landfills or pits covgerage.


The R&D project underlying bisARCHA initiative is related to the development of new materials based on deink paper sludge. Being composed by cellulose and calcium carbonate, deink paper sludge represents an interesting matrix to be exploited in several sectors. bisARCHA project aims at assessing the feasibility of a new business idea based on the recovery, the processing of the sludge from waste to raw material and the reuse in three specific applications: as filler for polymeric composites, as functional filler for cement aggregates and for the development of an additive used in oil spills remediation.
In the first year of the project, bisARCHA activities were focused mainly on the identification of deink paper sludge suppliers which can guarantee suitable volumes and quality constancy, on the development of specific physical and mechanical treatments to transform deink paper sludge in a suitable raw material for the foreseen applications, and on the development of formulation for building industry in order to obtain inorganic foams having fire resistance and thermal insulation, as an alternative of polymeric foams for interspaces of walls and doors.