Benefits of Recycling Paper
Recycling is basically the alteration of waste materials into reusable product. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a report estimated that 30% of solid wastes in America are recycled. Fifty five per cent of these wastes are channeled into landfills while another 15 per cent is channeled into incinerators. Man has engaged in recycling for a long time both at a conscious and an unconscious level. It is done with the main objective of obtaining the highest economic benefits while minimizing on the amount of resources directed towards the extraction and processing of fresh raw materials. A good example of this is the preindustrial period in Britain when coal dust and ash provided material that was utilized in the making of construction bricks. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the economic significance of paper recycling.
Brief History on Recycling
Many years back, people purchases milk in milk bottles which they afterwards stored and re-used when buying milk again. Soon, this lifestyle changed with the introduction of packet milk that got more preference due to its portability and ease of use. The recycling aspect was abandoned from there hence. During world war one and two, the nations urged their citizens to recycle metal because it would come in handy in during the wars as there was a significant shortage of resources. The culture of metal recycling lived on after the wars but gained another primary significance; energy saving. The cost of energy was sky rocketing and the nations had come to the realization that energy saving would enable them save a great deal of finances especially in the area of production. For instance, more energy was consumed when producing aluminum from fresh virgin resources as compared to recycling the same. Over the years, the culture of recycling has continued to grow through individual principles and government policies. In Berkeley California for instance, the state prohibited polythene packing in the year 1989. This ban had a significant impact because by the year 1999, more than 1000 companies undertaking plastic recycling had been established in America.
Recycled paper has been reclaimed from paper that has already been used through an industrial process. Basically paper recycling makes use of three kinds of paper or products of paper in its process. These are namely; pre-consumer waste paper, post-consumer waste paper and mill broke. Pre-consumer waste paper, just as the name suggests, is that paper which gets disposed off even before it was ready for use by consumers. Post-consumer waste paper is the opposite of this and is paper which has already been used and disposed off by the consumers. Mill broke on the other hand consists of paper trimmings and other refuse paper obtained during the initial paper production process.
Economic and Environmental Implications of Recycling
There are detrimental environmental impacts that accompany large scale paper production. The felling of trees which are the most important raw material results in the dwindling of water sources as well as a decreased woodland area cover. The industrial process of paper manufacturing also faces major challenges on the part of waste disposal. This procedure incorporates toxic chemicals during the manufacture after which the toxic chemicals may be channeled into water bodies. The consequences of such actions are apparent. First of all, it leads to an immediate pollution of the water because the water body becomes contaminated. Secondly, it destroys any aquatic life thriving in the water body and finally poses a health risk of colossal magnitude to man. According to an EPA report, paper recycling results in the drop of air and water pollution. It stated that on one hand, air pollution is significantly reduced by 74% while water pollution o the other hand drops by 35%.
During the 1920’s Britain embarked on paper recycling for economic purposes. It discovered an enterprising prospect in selling recycled paper. Recycling has grown in popularity because it is one of the ways through which refuse quantities are reduced and saves on the available natural resources. During the second half of the 1980’s, there was a growth in the concerns towards the condition of the environment and so recycling came to the forefront as one of the most crucial ways in which the environment can be preserved. Both the governments and corporate bodies jumped on board the recycling campaigns and it is estimated that by 2000, the recycling rate had doubled that of 1990 which was at 16 per cent. The other means of energy saving are named as reusing and reducing. It is also estimated that nearly 56 per cent of cardboard together with paper were recycled in the year 2000. In the year 2000 approximately 56% of cardboard and paper was recycled. Since cardboard can be processed from various refuse paper, paper recycling can be said to be an economically viable venture. Refuse paper is not only readily available, but cheap as well.
In first world countries, there is ample supply of both recycled paper and the wood fiber that is most important in the manufacture of paper. Due to technological enhancements, paper recycling has been made easier on the part of the manufacturers. Notable is the quality of paper achieved as a result of recycling. This paper is of exceptionally high standards and in fact, can attain the standards of paper manufactured from virgin material. However, in order for the end recycled paper to be of high quality, the manufacturer has to select the very best material for this process.
Recycling Means Business has listed some of the economic advantages recycling as; creation of employment opportunities in various communities within the country leading to national economic growth because the recycling sector plays a role in terms of industrial activities and an increased community incomes as a result of their recyclables. In the same light, Hefner and Blackwell aver that recycling indeed leads to numerous economic profits which they listed as; employment creation, bigger personal earnings for the workers in the recycling enterprise, and millions of dollars in terms of state revenue. As noted by the United States Recycling Economic Information Study (REI Study), the American recycling sector is credited for the establishment of a million employment chances as well as the generation of millions in state revenue. Additionally, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality states that recycling results in significant cutbacks in the production costs. Alvarado says that employment creation is the major impact that recycling has had in terms of economic measures.
In terms of environmental effects, paper recycling does not only impact less adversely on the environment when it comes to waste disposal, but also results in the consumption of less energy. Ace states that the use of recycled paper in production leads to the production of greenhouse gases with less harmful environmental implications when compares to the use of virgin fiber.
Borkowski, & Kelley carried out a study in the magazine industry to establish whether using recycled paper would have any impacts on the whole. They found out that making use of recycled paper would lead to cross-cutting benefits including; less energy consumption, emission of less harmful greenhouse gases, better forest management and reduction in solid waste (16). However, Shaw holds a different opinion when it comes to the preservation of trees and forest management. She argues that recycling not have any impact on tree saving endeavors as numerous trees are planted for the purpose of being felled and used for manufacturing paper.
Recycling of paper or any other material has positive repercussions that extend across the board. These benefits are seen in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects. It brings in money because it creates an industry which plays a role in the economy of the country. It also has a social impact because it creates employment for people who then acquire a source of living and raise their living standards. Lastly, the most obvious and most important is its environmental impact. It plays a role in sustainable development because it ensures conservation of resources as virgin raw material is spared by the use of refuse material. It also has leads to emission of less harmful greenhouse gases. It is therefore important that people across the world engage in the recycling of various things, not just paper but glass, metal and others.
Alvarado, Katherine. “Employment trends in North Carolina’s recycling industry.” Web. 18 Sep 2012.
Borkowski, Liz., & Kelley, Melissa. “Environmental Impacts of the magazine industry and recommendations for improvement.” greenamerica.org Web. 18 Se 2012.
Hefner, Frank, & Blackwell, Calvin. “The economic impact of the recycling industry in South Carolina.” epa.gov. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
“History of Recycling.” benefits-of-recycling.com. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
“Recycling means business.” epa.org. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
“Recycling paper.” benefits-of-recycling.com. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
Shaw, Jane. “Recycling.” econlib.org. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
“The History of Recycling.”recyclingcentre.org. Web. Sep 18 2012.