Should We Recycle Paper?

on Monday, 25 July 2016.

It’s always best to simply reduce the amount of paper and other resources that you consume. Obviously Reuse them whenever possible (paper has two sides!), and always Recycle paper products! Finally, when you must buy paper look for 100% post-consumer recycled paper to support the value of recycled commodities.

Worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for 4 percent of the world's energy use. The pulp and paper industry uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry.

From a greenhouse gas perspective it is clear that recycling paper is the better choice. Less greenhouse gas emissions are produced when paper is recycled then when it is made from virgin wood pulp.

From a chemical pollution perspective it is evident that the chemicals involved in the recycling process have a lower impact on the environment than virgin pulp production with its mechanical processing, steam, delignification, and bleaching.

Unfortunately both virgin and recycled paper production require a lot of water (virgin paper requires 24,000 gallons per ton and recycled paper requires 12,000 gallons per ton), emphasizing the importance of Reduce and Reuse before Recycle.

So keep in mind: Reduce the amount of paper and other resources that you consume, Reuse them whenever possible (paper has two sides!), and always Recycle! Finally, when you must buy paper, look for 100% post-consumer recycled paper to support the value of recycled commodities.

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