The process of recycling paper can help to reduce deforestation and energy consumption on a significant scale. There are many different reasons why we should recycle paper products, and some of these are highlighted in the below paragraphs.
Energy consumption will always be on the rise as population levels grow, and so any manufacturing processes which help to reduce energy consumption are welcomed.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) claim that there can be as much as a 40% energy saving when recycling paper over producing paper from the direct raw material.
Although recycling paper has many benefits, it also has its drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is that we cannot recycle the same paper product for eternity, as the fibres contained within the paper degrade over time, losing their strength and length.
On average, an individual paper fibre can only be recycled a maximum of six times. Although this is a significant drawback, the six time recycling process will help to save a great deal of energy when you consider how much paper there is to be recycled.
If paper fibres can be recycled up to 6 times, and we recycled all paper products, this could help to reduce the intensity of deforestation for paper products up to a factor of 6.
With paper production said to account for around 40% of harvested wood, and paper said to contain around 90% wood, you can see how recycling paper is an important process for the sustainability of our forests.
Today, the use of recycled paper products is on the increase, as more and more people begin to recycle paper based products around the home.
Although there are slight differences in the recycling processes of different forms of paper products (e.g. corrugated, mixed paper, newspaper products), we are able to recycle just about any type of paper product around today.
The recycling logo helps to identify a recyclable product, and can also sometimes help to identify if the product contains any recycled material, in the form of a percentage. This helps a consumer to identify the potential of recycling various products.
- Written by James Bratley