Sometimes I got a feeling that the whole society thinks that paper is really not an issue anymore. No matter what, we are recycling it right? So, why so many environmentalists are still jumping on our heads and screaming that we should use both sides of the paper and use it as less as possible?
Moreover, so many organizations, corporations and individuals find themselves as extremely environmentally friendly, since they are collecting and recycling the paper. I, myself thought for a very long time that companies which are recycling the paper are doing a good job. Unfortunately, in the end of the day I found another truth.
The whole paper recycling process starts in our bins at home. If the paper is mixed with wet waste the paper probably will not be in the condition for recycling at all. But if it is segregated, waste managers will pick up your paper and it will be sorted into various categories including office paper, magazines, newspapers, paperboards and cardboards.
The recycling process shortens the fibers and cellulose can be only recycled four to six times before it become degrade paper quality. Therefore paper from each category can only be recycled into the product of lesser quality. For example, office paper gets turned into magazines, magazines into newspaper, etc. So, there is a real end for paper as well. At the paper mill factories, paper first needs to be cleaned, screened with ink removal; which involves water bath, deinking process and bleaching with peroxides to get back the brightness material. After that the renewed pulp is turned into paper.(http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/ask-pablo-it-really-better-recycle-paper.html).
As seen through the process, even recycling paper from the mills is not really environmentally friendly.
- It is energy intensive –the pulp and paper industry is the world’s fifth largest industrial consumer of energy (According to Worldwatch institute)
- It uses huge amount of water
- Coatings, fillers and optical brighteners – the residue from the fillers and coatings is usually sent to landfill.
- It generates large amount of pollutants and waste into surrounding air and water. Some of them are greenhouse gases which contribute to the global climate change. In the surroundings can effect local people and wildlife with acid rain and degradation of freshwater
- The paper making process also generates large amounts of solid waste which must be disposed, the sludge from the fillers, coatings, wood fibres etc.
It seems that we can find the real solution somewhere else. Vatavaran recommends:
- reducing the use of paper and saving important natural resources.
- making a handmade paper
(You want to responsible dispose your waste paper? Contact us and we will take care of it! Write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Katja Polc, Member of Vatavaran team