How does paper recycling help the environment?
You feel better about yourself when you put a no-longer-needed paper into a recycling bin instead of a garbage can. But does recycling paper really make a difference? Some of our readers weighed in on how recycling paper really can make a difference to the environment. Keep reading to see why they recommend it.
Kristiana Juste is the owner and writer at sustainabilitynook.com.
Recycling Reduces Waste
There is no doubt that recycling is the best and most eco-friendly method of disposing of paper. And that’s for a few reasons:
- It significantly reduces the number of trees and the amount of water needed to produce new paper. Recycling one ton of paper can save up to 17 trees and uses only half as much water; it uses only 12,000 gallons of water instead of the 24,000 gallons that producing new paper does.
- You can recycle one piece of paper around five to seven times. So if that one ton of paper is recycled five times, that’s 85 trees saved.
- Although the fibers of the recycled paper get shorter with each time it’s recycled (hence why paper can’t be recycled infinitely), recycling paper still uses way fewer resources. Once the fibers get too short to make new paper, they can turn that paper into newspaper or egg cartons.
- By recycling paper into new paper or other products, we also reduce the amount of waste that goes to our landfills or is burned, which causes air pollution and releases harmful gases into the environment.
How is paper recycled?
- After the paper is collected from recycling bins, it’s brought to a recycling center and sorted so only the paper waste remains.
- Then the clean and usable paper is sorted and transferred to the mill for the recycling process.
- The paper is first shredded into smaller pieces and water and chemicals are added to the paper. The paper mixture then is heated to break the paper down into fibers.
- Then the remaining contaminants such as glue and ink are removed from the mixture and it’s sprayed onto a conveyor belt where water is added and the paper fibers are bonded back together into new paper.
- Lastly, the paper is dried, brightened, and put onto large rolls so new products can be produced from the recycled paper.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.