Paper Recycling – How Does it Help?
January 19, 2016
Posted by JD Stride

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has been the prime slogan of the 21st century. The incessant use of natural resources to quench man’s thirst for using more and more technology is totally depleting the earth and we are on the verge of leaving nothing but mere trash to the future generations. Reducing the usage of natural resources, reusing the used products to the highest extent possible and recycling every possible thing is the best way to save what is left and conserve them for the upcoming future generations of the human kind.

The process of making new paper products by using waste paper products is called paper recycling. Recycling of paper plays a vital role and also contributes to creating a major impact on the environment in the positive side. The basic raw material used for making paper is wood. Other chemicals like limestone and sulphur are also used for the process. The by-products left behind by these chemicals are too hazardous and harmful for the environment and can cause a lot of pollution and contamination. Moreover using wood for making new paper products leads to a large scale of deforestation. With the increase in global warming and ecological imbalance, it is high time that we take care of the trees from being cut and plant more instead. New paper products’ production only makes the situation worse as it contributes to a lot of negative impacts on the environment.

Paper products are everywhere starting from books to sanitary products. Paper is everywhere and is used for a variety of purposes! It is used

  • Making the valuable and precious paper money, cheque books, tickets, gift vouchers.
  • Storing information in books, notebooks, magazines, newspapers, ledgers, diaries.
  • Making containers and packaging such as envelopes, paper bags, wrappers, wallpapers.
  • Cleaning purposes such as paper towels, tissues, etc etc..

A day without paper is totally unimaginable. Statistics shows that almost 95% of the business information is still stored on paper and for personal computers around 115 billion sheets of paper are used annually. An average web user prints about 28 pages everyday!

It is also found that on an average by weight, paper forms 35% of the municipal solid waste! Not only does it cause large scale felling of trees and landfill but also causes air and water pollution, large usage of electrical energy. Paper production requires a large amount of water as well.

For recycling paper other kinds of paper are also added along with it such as mill broke or internal mill waste, pre-consumer waste, post-consumer waste. Mill waste is the waste that is collected during the manufacture of paper which is reused in the production again, re-pulped back into paper. Pre-consumer waste is the processing waste that is a generated waste which also acts as a genuine recycled source of fibre. It also includes de-inked waste, that is, paper from products that were manufactured but unsold publications etc. The post-consumer waste is the paper that we use and throw into the trash. It could be the paper from office, magazines, newsprint, books, etc., the paper that has served its purpose and is ready for recycling which will be recycled as printed paper and undergoes deinking process.

Recycling of paper involves mixing of paper with water and other chemicals to break it down but the amount of water used here is comparatively lesser. The product is then broken down to pulp and strained. This paper can be strained to a maximum of seven times, as every time the pulp is strained, the fibre gets thinner. Even newspapers can be made from recycled newspapers! But using recycled paper reduces all the negative impacts caused by the production of new paper products from wood.

Yes! Recycled paper production reduces transport and CO2 emissions. It generates 20% – 50% lesser amount of carbon dioxide emissions than the production and manufacture of actual paper products. Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 mature trees and 7000 gallons of water and 4100 kilowatt-hours of electricity which is equivalent to the amount of energy required to power an average American home for six months!!!  In 2010, 63.5% of the paper used in the United States was taken for recycling and reuse.

The first step towards recycling is having the thought and the desire to implement it in one’s own home, office or building. Making use of recycling bin would be good practice. Trash can be segregated into two as paper products and non-paper products so that they it can be easily sent for recycling. There are newspaper bins too that are used to collect newspapers and other waste papers for recycling.

If you wish to contribute to the environment, be a part of the revolution to help save the earth and trees, if you also like to implement any of these practices of recycling paper and create greater awareness.