Despite the fact that we live in an era where technology is a fundamental part of our daily lives and digital is gaining ground every day, large amounts of paper are still being used.
Behind that high level of consumption, there are millions of trees cut down. Even illegally.
Add to this the low percentage of paper that is recycled, and you have a problem that seems to go on forever.
Therefore, it is important to promote and practice the recycling of all products that support it.
Learn about the benefits of paper recycling, a simple action that can save large tracts of forest, helping to reduce your ecological footprint and improve our environment.
What do we gain from paper recycling?
There are multiple benefits from paper recycling. For the most part, they have a positive impact by reducing environmental pollution.
Recycling paper helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, reduces pollution of ecosystems and can be used to bring other products to life.
With only knowing these few benefits of paper recycling, both in society and in the environment, it is understandable to promote that more and more people adopt recycling in their lives.
Reduction of greenhouse gases
Recycling paper reduces the methane and carbon dioxide emissions that remain in the atmosphere by 74 per cent.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is produced when paper decomposes anaerobically, when it is improperly disposed of, and when it is disposed of in landfills.
In the case of carbon dioxide, it is released every time trees are cut down to obtain the raw material from which paper is made. In addition, more carbon dioxide is released when wood is processed to extract its pulp.
By using recycled paper, to get new fiber out of the paper, you reduce the amount of carbon dioxide because you don’t cut down the trees that help absorb it.
Better use of natural resources
If recycled paper is used as the main form of obtaining paper fibre, the felling of trees would not have the current rate, would be less frequent and – in the future – could be almost eradicated.
To give you an idea, each ton of recycled paper collected for fibre extraction helps save about 17 trees.
In addition to being a functional method for environmental conservation, recycled paper represents a savings in costs and services for companies dedicated to the manufacture of paper fibre products.
Although paper cannot be recycled more than seven times, because its fibre is getting shorter, at the end of its life it can be used to create clean energy or to be composted.
Recycled paper will always have a use and has an important space in our daily lives.
Saving water and energy
Obtaining paper pulp from trees, compared to obtaining it from recycled paper, consumes less energy and water, which represents lower costs for the companies that manufacture it.
In addition, we promote the saving of the energy necessary for the operation of a home for approximately six months.
As far as saving water is concerned, 25,000 litres can be used for city distribution and emissions of pollutants to water bodies are reduced by 35%.
This is because processing recycled paper reduces the number of steps in obtaining the fibre and the intensive processes that are carried out to obtain new products.
Recycling as a source of employment
Recycling helps create jobs in research and development of green and renewable energy sources. But it also helps with business growth.
Most companies use printed material such as cards and brochures to promote their brand, and recycling their material provides them with significant benefits.
In addition to the savings in printing the material, they are helping to protect the environment.
This positive contribution against climate change, improves the image of companies in the market by connecting with the environmental awareness of consumers of their products.
Figures that illustrate the benefits of paper recycling
You may think that saving 1,000 kilos of paper is impossible, but if we all do it, it is a possible goal to achieve very often.
By recycling all this paper, 17 trees are saved from being cut down. If you recycle all the paper you use in one year, you have the power to save one tree.
As for the services used to obtain the paper pulp, 26 cubic meters of water and 4,000 kilowatts of energy are saved.
With the 1,000 kilos of recycled paper, 0.9 tonnes of paper can be manufactured. By recycling eight boxes that are used to sell cereals, the paper fibre can be obtained to make a book.
In addition, one tonne of vegetable fibres is being replaced by recycled paper and the production of 2.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide is being avoided.
If 100,000 people switched their financial institution’s mail from physical to electronic, 150,000 trees would not be cut down each year. And if one million people joined the initiative, 1.5 million trees would still be generating oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide.
Paper recycling prevents the emission of 750 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year worldwide.
Each Spaniard recycles approximately 13 kilos of paper per year, which makes us one of the leading countries in paper recycling, along with France and Germany.
This is how you can participate in paper recycling
Small actions can make a difference, and when it comes to recycling there is no exception.
Print only the contents you need and try to use the sheets on both sides. If you only have to print on one side, save the sheet for later use.
When disposing of any product made of paper or cardboard, remember to do so in the blue waste container. This helps separate the materials that will be reused to obtain new paper fiber.
You can also buy recycled paper, which does its job just like virgin paper, and most importantly, it helps with the environment and your economy.
Is everything a benefit? Disadvantages of Recycling Paper
After knowing the benefits of recycling paper in our lives, the environment and in companies, it is necessary to know the inconveniences it can generate.
One of the main points is the number of times the paper can be recycled, which can be used between three and seven times.
This is because the cellulose of the paper fiber is degrading and it is necessary to mix it with virgin paper pulp.
Although a large reduction in energy use is noted, only the energy used in the extraction of the paper pulp is measured. The transport and selection of the recycled paper to be used is not counted.
To obtain virgin paper pulp, there are regulations that oblige companies to reforest areas with four trees for every one they cut down.
With a lower demand for virgin paper, the forests do not grow at the rate at which companies cut down plant species to make paper to meet the needs of their customers.