Why paper shouldn't be recycled.
There are many benefits to the environment from recycling, especially metals and plastics but the recycling of paper, I believe is actually detrimental to the environment. Paper is made from wood and the people of our planet have a voracious appetite for it. Over 300 million tonnes of paper are used every year. That's a lot of trees but if the trees are grown for paper and not taken from the wild, then it could be a good thing, that is if we stop recycling paper.
It's all to do with Carbon Dioxide or CO2 for short. Lot's of claims have been made about CO2 and it's link with global warming. Assuming this is true then removing CO2 from the atmosphere is beneficial to the environment.
Paper is made by taking wood and basically mashing it into a pulp and reforming it into sheets. But the cellulose remains more or less intact holding on to it's carbon. This carbon will remain fixed until the paper is either burned or rots away. So why not recycle? Well the trouble starts when you start to reprocess the old paper into new paper. Lots of energy is needed to collect, sort and re-pulp the old paper which needs fuel (usually fossil fuel) and then there are various chemicals needed like bleach, because people seem to prefer nice white paper to it's natural colour, all of which require energy to produce. Ah, you may say but so does making paper from raw wood and this is true but if you use raw wood you are using wood that has fixed some
So what should be done with old paper if it is not recycled? Well to keep the carbon “locked” in the paper, the paper needs to be left as is. The best way to do this is to bury it and bury it deep to minimise any rotting of fungal growth that may produce CO2 by respiration. A normal landfill is no good as the paper will rot and release CO2 as it does. New trees should be planted to replace the used ones, fixing
To summarise then, to decrease the net amount of CO2 production from paper manufacture:
Do not recycle or burn old paper but bury it deep underground to minimise rotting.
Use only fresh wood to make paper.
Plant forests specifically to be harvested for wood.
Paper is a versatile and valuable commodity and can be totally renewable if we make it and dispose of it properly.