History of paper and waste

Paper has been around for thousands of years and is an important part of modern life, whether it is in the school, office or at home.

For many years, paper was made by hand, but production became industrialized in the nineteenth century when demand for reading and writing materials rose dramatically. Generally speaking, paper products only have a limited lifespan, however, and at some point we have to decide what we will do with the waste.

Although most people associate paper usage with reading and writing, most waste paper is now caused by packaging. Another interesting fact, and cause for concern, is the amount of printing done by computer users, with the average person now printing off 28 pages per day.

Recycling paper does normally require some effort. You have to separate it from the general trash, store it, and then transport it to the local recycling facility. For those people who are wondering whether it is worth the bother, I have listed below 4 good reasons for doing so, with the aim of answering the question: Why recycle paper.

Global warming and energy

1. Recyling paper, as with all recycling generally, helps in the fight against global warming. That’s because if paper isn’t recycled it goes into landfill sites, or is incinerated, both of which cause the creation of greenhouse gasses, increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

2. Recycling paper saves energy. Although the exact figure is debated, it is generally thought that the energy savings are around 40%, when paper is recycled, instead of being made with virgin pulp.

Deforestation and polution

3. It can reduce deforestation. About a third of all trees that are felled are used for making paper. Deforestation is another contributor to global warming as trees help to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Although many paper mills do plant more trees to make up for the ones felled, especially in the developed world where tree felling is now usually closely regulated, it has been estimated that recycling fifty percent of the world’s paper would save 20 million acres of forestland.

4. It cuts down on pollution. Compared with making paper from scratch, recycling causes 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution. Problems are especially acute when chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydrosulfite are used to bleach the pulp that the paper is made from.