We’ve all heard about the benefits of recycling, and most of us try to implement it in our lives in some form of the other. However, despite the rise in electronic messaging, e-bills and other form of paperless communication, we’re still consuming a LOT of paper.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 70 million tons of paper are used in the United States every year. Over 65% of this gets recycled, but we need to make a conscious effort to recycle as much as we can.
Here are the 6 main ways in which paper recycling helps our planet:
- Less Energy & Water Use – Paper recycling uses less energy and water than manufacturing virgin paper pulp, since there are fewer steps involved in processing recycled pulp. Up to 7,000 gallons of water and over 40,000 kilowatts of energy can be saved by recycling just one ton of paper!
- Less Waste in Landfills – The EPA states that almost 30% of solid waste in landfills comes from discarded paper. Recycling one ton of paper, cardboard, corrugated and other paper products can save up to 3.3 yards of space in landfills, saving it for items that are not recyclable and helping to keep the earth clean.
- Less Greenhouse Gas Levels – The EPA says that recycling one ton of paper reduces greenhouse gas levels by one metric ton of carbon equivalent. Paper is biodegradable but produces methane while decomposing. These emissions combined with carbon dioxide from paper pulp production add to global warming.
- Less Air & Water Pollution – When paper is recycled instead of being incinerated or left to decompose in landfills, it reduces the number of pollutants going into the air and water around us. Not only does this help the environment, but also ensures that we’re drinking cleaner water and breathing cleaner air!
- Less Strain on the Ecosystem – Recycling one ton of paper can save anywhere from 13 to 17 trees, preserving natural resources and the habitats of birds and animals living in forests. Since trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, even the smallest changes can add up to a big impact for the environment over time.
- Less Fossil Fuel Consumption – With every ton of paper being recycled, we’re saving two barrels of oil that would otherwise be used to produce fresh paper. Decreasing our dependency on oil helps to preserve limited fossil fuels, along with reducing the negative environmental effects of oil production.
Here are some additional advantages of paper recycling:
- Cost Savings – Whether as a business or an individual, buying and using recycled paper saves money and promotes economic responsibility.
- Job Creation – Increasing our paper recycling efforts helps with the creation of jobs in the waste management and recycling industries.
- Waste Reduction – When paper is recycled, waste management services become more efficient and cost-effective for business and individuals alike.
- ‘Green’ Image – Using recycled paper products helps companies build a reputation for sustainable and responsible business practices.
How Paper Shredding Helps with Recycling
One of the main concerns with paper recycling is the security of sensitive or personal data, such as the information on bank statements or credit card bills. An industrial paper shredder is the best solution, since it allows you to destroy confidential documents before sending them to a recycling facility.
Paper shredding plays an important role in corporate recycling and waste management programs. Any business producing a lot of paper waste should invest in an industrial paper shredder instead of adding trash to the waste stream. Every little bit counts!
Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog on Compactor Management Company.