Moisture measurement in paper and cardboard packaging waste bales for recycling

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Moisture content is a quality issue raised by recycling plants in the acceptance of paper and cardboard coming from waste streams. The current way to measure this parameter is by the oven drying method, which is a slow and invasive process, costing time and resources for the recyclers to do this type of quality control. An alternative to such a measurement technique is the use of plate-form devices which indirectly measure the moisture content using the dielectric properties of water and paper. This study has tested this method and developed a representative equation for the use of devices with these properties in the Portuguese market. For that, 48 wastepaper and cardboard bales were tested with both the traditional (oven drying) method and a commercial device equipped with dielectric technology. An equation that fits the studied reality (R2 = 0.76) was achieved, and possible problems regarding the use of this device were tested. The results showed that this type of device could be used as a time-and cost-saving, non-destructive and reliable method in the quality control of wastepaper and cardboard bales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4586
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021


  • Dielectric principle
  • Moisture
  • Oven drying
  • Waste packaging


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