Recycled paper cellulose has some drawbacks, for example loss in mechanical strength, to use in paper industry alone. However, derivatives of cellulose can find applications in other industrial areas. Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is one of the most used cellulose derivatives and can be obtained by heterogeneous modification of cellulose. In general carboxymethylation of cellulose achieved in alkaline alcoholic dispersions. In this work modification of cellulose from recycled newspaper in aqueous alkaline solution was aimed. First cellulose was recovered from newspaper under oxidative alkaline conditions. Cellulose recovery was determined as 75-90% (w/w) of starting material. Carboxymethylation reactions were carried out to find optimum conditions for derivatization, changing concentrations of components and reaction temperature. Obtained CMC samples had a DS of 0.3-0.7% and 84-94% CMC content. As a result, carboxymethylation of cellulose from recycled newspaper was achieved in aqueous alkaline dispersion giving commercial grade CMC for industrial use. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.