Recycling has been promoted for a while now – but only during the 70s and especially during the 80s did it become a serious point of attention. We’re a few decades further on, but still there are many people who don’t exactly understand why paper should, in fact, be recycled, and what the advantages are. In fact, most people still don’t understand the whole process. Recycling paper truly is the right thing to do – but for reasons perhaps you haven’t thought about yet. It’s not just about saving the environment, it’s about cutting our collective bills and taking care of our collective surroundings. Just for your information: here are the basic facts on paper recycling you should know about.
Segregation and collection
In essence, this is the most important step for individuals, households, and enterprises to take: making sure that they segregate all paper products from the rest of the waste so it can be properly collected. Ideally, it is stored in a cool, dry place away from other waste materials so it cannot be contaminated with food products or any chemicals.
Tear it up!
Once your paper is collected, it gets torn up into small pieces and made into pulp – the process is called repulping. This mush then gets sieved to make sure the individual paper pieces are as small as possible. You then have the raw material from which to make new paper.
The pulp is not clean, so it gets ‘deinked’ – from the verb deinken, a term used to ensure that all ink, glue, and other residues are removed from the pulp. In its simplest stages, it’s a purification process.
Next comes the refining. It just ensures that the pulp is consistent in grain and that it’s as smooth as possible. Also during this stage is the bleaching – ensuring all colour is removed and that the paper becomes as white as possible.
The process of creating new things
And then it gets spread out (usually sprayed), dried, cut, and rolled.
Why is this all important? Because it’s useful to know that a lot of energy and resources are saved relative to creating new paper from fresh wood. And, apropos, it’s not just paper that goes through this process – similar procedures are done to tin cans, glass, compost, plastic, and a whole lot of other materials. Waste is not always waste – waste can, in fact, be a resource, and proper waste collection plays a crucial role as well. So next time you read your newspaper and think of throwing it, think of putting it in its proper place, so someday down the line it can be used again. It’s good for you, for your enterprise, for everyone. It’s the right thing to do.
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