Published on 09/11/2011
First Update 15/03/2017
Today everywhere we look we see one thing: paper. From our writing table to notebooks, posters and notebooks to cardboard boxes and magazines, paper has become part of our everyday lives. Paper is made from trees, and every single part of the tree is either chopped up to make products or burned to create energy. If we could just recycle one morning newspaper every day, we could save 41,000 trees from being cut down and greatly reduce our carbon footprint. Recycling old paper products uses 60% less energy than manufacturing it from new materials.
What is paper recycling?
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) consists of approximately 40% of paper waste, making it the top material that we throw away. That means for every 100 kilogram of trash we throw away, about 40 kilograms of it is paper. Although paper waste is biodegradable but it’s recycling adds more advantage to the municipal solid waste management system. Paper recycling is a simple process which leads to the recovery of waste paper from MSW and converting it into new paper products. Basically, waste paper can be divided into 3 major categories: mill broke waste, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste. They can be used as feed stocks for making recycled paper. Mill broke paper waste is generated through trimmings and other paper scrap during the manufacturing of paper which is recycled internally in a paper mill. Pre-consumer waste is material which is not generated in pa paper mill. It is a kind of discarded waste before it is ready for consumer use. Post-consumer waste is waste material generated which is discarded after consumer use, such as old corrugated containers (OCC), old magazines, old newspapers (ONP), office paper, old telephone directories, and residential mixed paper (RMP). Paper suitable for recycling is called “scrap paper” and is often used to produce molded pulp packaging.
What types of paper products can be recycled?
Some of the most recognized paper products which can be recycled and can be used by us are: Newspaper, Shredded paper, Phonebooks, Cardboard, Magazines, Computer paper, Envelopes, Junk mail, Construction paper etc. Through recycling of cardboard and other paper products, millions of new paper products are produced such as: Egg cartons, Paper towels, Tissue, Toilet paper, Newspaper, Phonebooks, Paper bags, Notebooks, Stamps, Business cards, Calendars. There are so many other products that are made up of recycled paper. The best thing which is associated with paper recycling is that in the recycling of paper the chemicals and bleaches are used in very less quantity, which is safer for the environment.
What are the benefits of paper recycling?
Waste paper recycling has several advantages. Recycling newspaper saves about 14% of landfill space which can be used to dump other waste materials. It has been estimated that for every ton of newspaper recycled we can save enough energy which can be used to power a television for 31 hours. Through recycling one ton of paper we can save 17 mature trees. Paper recycling reduces sulfur dioxide emissions with eliminating the use of coal which is used in the paper industry to generate power, hence promoting less use of fossil fuel. Most paper have tendency to be recycled up to 8 times to create new products thus it leaves more trees for the sustainability of our environment and saves energy also. When the paper is recycled, it allows more trees to survive and supply us with healthy oxygen to breathe.
Sorting and Transportation of Paper Waste
It is necessary to gather clean paper for successful recycling. The paper which is being sent for recycling should not have and should be free from contaminants, such as food, plastic, metal, and other trash, which make paper difficult to recycle due to presence of contaminants. Contaminated paper which cannot be recycled must be composted, burned for energy, or they can be useful in landfills. At the designated recycling centers, paper is generally sorted by its grade or type of paper and sent for recycling.
2. Collection and Transportation
After the sorting step the paper is taken to a local recycling center or recycling bin. A paper stock dealer or recycling center collects recovered paper from these places at regular intervals. At the recycling center, the collected paper is wrapped in tight bales and transported to a paper mill, where it will be recycled into new paper.
Indian scenario of waste paper recycling
If we look at the data related to the waste paper recycling in India, we can conclude that in India only about 20% waste paper is being currently recovered annually. The low recovery of paper is due to use of paper in wrapping, packing, etc. In India, government bodies and people both are not very much aware of source segregation which results in the contamination of waste and thus becoming unusable. In comparison in developed countries the percentage of recovery of waste paper in India is very low. For instance in Germany it is 73%, Sweden 69%, Japan 60%, Western Europe 56%, USA 49% and Italy 45 %.
By 2010 about half of the global amount of fibers used in papermaking will be recycled fibers; a recent report of Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute (CPPRI) has stated that. However the report admits that recycled fibre sourcing in India is a challenge. Import of waste paper has increased significantly during 1995-2003. Due recognition should be given by the industry as well as the government to this to be an essential secondary raw material because recovered paper has potential to substitute a high-cost and inadequate primary raw material. The average per capita paper use worldwide was 110 pounds. It is estimated that 95% of business information is still stored on paper.
A programme on paper collection called Wealth Out of Waste (WOW) has been launched by ITC Paperboards and Specialty last year in select areas in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Coimbatore and is now expanding it to more areas in South India, including Chennai. In Chennai, it has tied up with 30-40 IT companies including Infosys, IBM and Wipro which would sell their waste paper to ITC for recycling. It also plans to tie up with Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs), NGOs and local bodies to expand the waste paper collection programme.
There is a big problem in India that the mills which depend upon waste paper for recycling are facing a shortage of raw material while the demand is growing as the mills are expanding. Due to non-availability of raw material the cost of waste paper is driving up which has gone up to around Rs 10 a kg, almost double of what it used to cost a year ago. So the need is to make people and government aware about this programme of paper recycling so as to produce raw material in a huge quantity to help the industries dealing with recycling of paper. This will also improve the sustainability of the environment.