AbstractWhite ledger is white-grade recycled pulp that replaces the bleached kraft pulp (BKP) that typically forms the top ply of duplex boards. However, sheets made from white ledger are inferior in strength compared with those made from virgin pulp. Therefore, it is necessary to select a proper additive in order to overcome the disadvantages of using white ledger. In this study, the physical properties of white ledger used at a mill that produced duplex boards were analyzed. The effect of cationic polyacrylamides (C-PAMs) with different charge densities and molecular weights on first-pass retention and paper strengths was simultaneously measured. White ledger contains fiber fines and filler fines, which reduced the strength of paper made from white ledger compared with paper made with BKP. This indicates that the improvement of first-pass retention and paper strength is important when the amount of white ledger increases in the top ply of a duplex board. The charge density of C-PAM, which acts as a retention aid, is more important than its molecular weight in terms of improving the first-pass retention and paper strength of white ledger. The charge density of C-PAM must be high enough to catch anionic fine particles.