Paper recycling is the process of recovering used papers for reuse in the production of new paper products. Waste papers may be obtained from the discarded paper material after consumer use. Recycling of many different products has been there for many years since recycling has been found to be cheaper than creating the virgin product. Paper recycling has been put in place as a way of curbing waste paper disposal. The aim of paper recycling is to conserve raw materials used in production, reduce energy use and reduce paper dumping effects on the environment.
Paper recycling brings about environmental importance. Recycling makes the environment clean. Wastes have a wide range of negative impacts on the natural environment. It reduces greenhouse effects (Worrell and Reuter).Trees absorb carbon dioxide in the environment, and if more trees are cut down, there will be a high concentration of carbon dioxide gas in the air which in the long run brings about the greenhouse effect which may lead to diseases that can bring threat to a human for example asthma, respiratory allergies and air diseases.
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Paper recycling reduces pollution and avoids landfills. If paper materials are carelessly discarded, our environment will be filthy, and some papers will even be released into water sources like rivers and lakes bringing about water pollution (Schaub). This endangers aquatic lives like fish, crocodiles and plants also this can bring about diseases to a human for example cholera and typhoid. Also, domestic animals may be affected if they go take the polluted water directly mainly the cattle, sheep, and goats. On the other hand, if we decide to discard waste paper by burning them, air pollution will be the result which has an effect on both plants and human lives for example in human can result in lung cancer, asthma, respiratory disorders. Recycling paper also saves on space in landfills for other wastes that cannot be recycled hence this automatically save land for other purposes like farming in plants this lead to acid rain which affects the vegetation, and when human consume the same, it affects them negatively.
Paper recycling saves on energy and water. During paper production, a lot of water and energy is used. The energy required for the first step of cutting trees to making pulp out of them is so much as compared to the energy required to make pulp out of waste papers (Worrell and Reuter). Research shows that recycling one ton waste paper saves energy capable of powering six American homes for six months and around seven thousand gallons of water this may add value to ones country’s economy for example the saved water can be used for other purposes like irrigation and there will be enough water supply for households also the spared energy can be supplied for other purposes like supplying to areas where there is shortage.
Recycling conserves natural resources. If the paper is recycled, it means fewer trees will be cut down to make pulp used in paper production. Conservation of natural resources has been the goal of many environmentalists due to the limited supply of these resources; most countries are working towards the minimal use of these resources. From this human beings and wild animals can enjoy the advantages associated with trees, for example, trees act as windbreakers and are homes to some animals also trees bring about rain hence farming will be easy to perform.
Paper dumping has several effects on the environment. The main effect associated with paper dumping is pollution. Paper pollution is a serious problem resulting from waste paper disposal. Paper and pulp making are among the top five pollutants in the world. During the production of paper, chlorine used in bleaching paper is released to water sources, air and soil; this causes soil toxicity hence farming will be affected, some microorganisms in the soil may die due to this. When paper decomposes, it emits methane gas which is more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Deforestation is one of the effects associated with the careless use of paper this may lead to minimal or no rain and hence farming may be negatively affected also there will be no enough supply of fresh air which is associated with oxygen. Everyday trees are cut down for different reasons, and if people decide to plant a tree for each cut-down, it will take a long time before they grow big enough to serve their purposes. The paper and pulp industry are among the big contributors of deforestation and can be partly blamed for the global warming effect and for the extinction of some species of animals that live in the forest. Some indigenous trees have become extinct due to deforestation; these trees are mostly hardwood which is disparately needed for furniture making and construction purposes, some trees bring about tourism hence if depleted will cause problems in the sector.
In North America, many paper companies are modifying their processes to reduce waste paper and curb paper pollution. One of the main solutions is paper recycling. The process of reusing waste papers helps save on tree cutting, careless discarding of waste paper and generally saves on the energy and water required in the production of new paper products. It also reduces pollution caused by paper mills especially if they are producing bleached paper (Waltham). The American, Environmental Protection Agency, has found out that paper recycling causes 35% water pollution and 74% less air pollution than making virgin paper.
To deal with paper waste, it is encouraged that people take advantage of the current technology. With the availability of smartphones, computers, and tablets the use of paper can be reduced. Notes and important documents can be stored in them and can only be printed out when need be. Students can also read their notes on their phones and laptops (Edward). These help in reducing a lot of paperwork which might be carelessly disposed at the end of their use.
In the office, paper can be recycled. For example, if one side of a paper has been used, you can assemble the papers then pin them together to make a notebook on the unused side instead of throwing them away (Schaub).In the same sense printed notes and research notes can be well stored and passed down to the next generation so that in future the same material does not have to be printed again. These can prevent up to 50% paper dumping and pollution and also saves some money for other uses hence add some value to the economy.
Moreover, colleagues in the office can adopt the use of email for communication rather than having to write letters to their workers. This makes works easier for the employees. Employers can also keep records and information on office computers to avoid the use of manual means which is mainly paperwork (Kato, Yasuhiro, and Takao). Colleges and schools can also adopt the same, teachers and tutors can communicate with parents and students through mobile phones and emails to reduce the amount of paperwork.
To curb paper waste and dumping countries like Australia and the United States have implemented high anti-dumping import duties on paper from Indonesia, this has increased the demand for recycled paper manufactured from its own countries (Press). This, overall, reduces the amount of waste paper being disposed of hence pollution of the environment is reduced.
Finally, as a consumer of paper products, consumers can go further in reducing waste paper dumping by the way they use and dispose of paper waste. Individuals are encouraged to throw waste papers into recycle bins, buy products with least paper packaging since millions of dollars are spent in making the packages which at the end land in the garbage (Yacob, Melissa, and Hanafiah). Consumers can also take part in encouraging entrepreneurs to engage in business activities that follow environmentally friendly practices.
There are many views on paper recycling process. Some of the views include the cost of the process, the effectiveness of the process, the benefits of the process to both people and the environment and the process recycling as a method of curbing global warming. From the discussion on the advantages of paper recycling, it can be concluded that the benefits by far overdo the challenges during the process. All people involved in the use of paper products should, therefore, work towards an environmentally friendly method of recycling waste paper.
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