AbstractThe paper industry has taken various steps to address environmental concerns and raw material limitations. Among them, paper recycling has been shown to be a viable option. In this study, the alkaline sulfite pulping of old corrugated containers (OCC) to produce bleachable pulp was investigated. A combination of one of the three active alkali levels (14, 16, and 18%; Na2O, and oven-dry weight of OCC); one of two pulping temperatures (145 and 175ºC), and one of two pulping times (60 and 120 minutes) and sodium sulfite to sodium hydroxide ratio of 30/70 (mol/mol) were examined. After preliminary pulping and evaluation, pulp with a kappa number of 18.3 and brightness of 50.2%, which was produced applying 18% active alkali, sodium sulfite to sodium hydroxide ratio of 30:70, and pulping time and temperature of 120 minutes and 175ºC, respectively, having the yield of 64.0% (based on oven dry weight of washed OCC) and 72.7% (based on original weight of the OCC as received), respectively, was selected for totally chlorine free (TCF) bleaching trials. Brightness, opacity, tensile, and tear strength indices of this pulp were measured as 50.2%, 81.4%, 27.7 N.m/g, and 12.35 mN.m2/g, respectively. Bleaching of this pulp applying 3% H2O2 and 2.25% NaOH at 90 minutes generated bleached pulp with brightness and opacity as 57.1% and 78.2%, respectively. The bleaching yield was measured as 92%. Tensile and tear strength indices of this pulp were measured as 25.1 Nm/g and 12.4 mN.m2/g, respectively.