Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Recycling-Paper Recycling/Cardboard Recycling
Paper is a wonderful material that has a number of uses, including manufacturing notebooks, hard covered and soft covered books, calendars, newspapers and magazines, and wrapping gifts and items in stores. Paper is one of the most versatile and most common materials used in homes, schools and businesses throughout the world. Every day we enjoy the benefits of paper products, such as the newspaper we read in the morning; cereal and juice boxes, the paper we use for school and business purposes and for personal documents.
Paper has been used for a few thousand years and hand-made production methods were used until the nineteenth century. The industrialization of the paper making process helped to bring education and books to a broad spectrum of people, and continued advances have resulted in better and more efficient products that meet our needs, while leaving a smaller impact on our environment. Paper, cardboard and paperboard are widely recycled. Today paper is the most recycled product in North America.
How Paper is Made:
Over the centuries, paper has been made from a wide variety of materials such as wood pulp, rice, water plants, and cotton. Fiber is needed no matter what you use to make paper. Today's paper fiber comes mainly from two sources -- pulpwood logs and recycled paper products. Actually, much of the paper we use every day is a blend of new and recycled fiber.
Some paper is made brand-new from trees, either trees harvested just for that purpose, or from sawmill scraps left over when larger trees are made into lumber. A second source of papermaking material is recycled fiber. Each year, more and more paper is recycled, its fibers used a second, third or fourth time. Every year, about half of the paper North Americans use is recovered for recycling and other uses.
Almost all of the paper you use today is made of wood fibers. Some specialty papers, like stationery and currency, are made from linen, cotton, or other plants. Other papers contain a combination of cellulose fibers and synthetics such as latex. Others are made entirely from synthetic materials such as polyolefine, but natural fiber paper is found almost everywhere.
Most of the paper you see today is made from both hardwoods and softwoods, a special blend used for each purpose The paper making process consists of eight stages: debarking, chipping, pulping, bleaching, paper machine, blade coater, super calendar, and sheet converting. Hardwood trees such as oaks and maples have wood with very short fibers. Paper made from these species is weaker than that made from softwoods, but its surface is smoother, and therefore better to write and print on..Softwood trees such as pine and spruce have wood with long fibers, and paper made from this type of wood is much stronger. This paper is ideal for making products like cardboard shipping containers that need superior strength,. but the finish is rougher, and that's not as good for printing, writing, and many other uses. Fiber from hardwoods and softwoods can be blended into a single paper, getting just the combination of strength, whiteness, writing surface and other features that consumers want.
How Cardboard is Made?
Most items at your local supermarket, retail store, or shopping mall were reliably delivered in boxes made of corrugated cardboard, and many items are displayed in the same cardboard boxes, which were manufactured so they could be opened and used for this purpose. Because corrugated cardboard is such a versatile packaging material, millions of tons are used each year to protect and display products. Cardboard is inexpensive to produce and to date is the most efficient shipping container used to package and move materials securely. Typically, the more we consume the more cardboard that is needed.
Fast-growing pine trees provide the chief raw material used to make corrugated cardboard. The largest packaging companies own thousands of acres of land where trees are matured, harvested, and replaced with seedlings. After the trees are harvested, they are stripped of their limbs; only the trunks will be shipped by truck to a pulp mill. The largest packaging companies also own the mills where trees are converted to kraft paper
They make cardboard out of outer flat sheets or liners of puncture resistant paper, inserting a central filling of corrugated short fiber paper. Corrugated cardboard is a stiff, strong, and light-weight material made up of three layers of brown kraft paper. Corrugated boxes are used for packing, storing and transporting products to factories, warehouses, retail stores, offices and homes. Corrugated boxes are also known as old corrugated cardboard, or OCC, if the boxes have been deposited into either a recycling bin or a garbage receptacle. OCC is the most widely recycled of all packaging materials. Corrugated boxes have a fluted, corrugated medium layer inserted between layers of linerboard.
Environmental Issues from Manufacture of Paper Products:
The manufacture of paper has some major environmental issues to be concernend about. Trees offset carbon emissions by fossil fuels and can be used as an alternative renewable biofuel, replacing the use of fossil fuels. The more that trees are used to manufacture paper and cardboard the worse it is for our environment. Furthermore, chlorine is generally used in the paper bleaching process, releasing carcinogenic chemicals and other toxins. Chlorine creates dioxins and poisons our fish and pollutes our water when it is released into oceans, lakes and rivers. As the demand for paper has increased, more timber has been needed to meet the demand for wood pulp. In some cases this has meant the loss of valuable wildlife habitats and ecosystems, as managed plantations, usually of fast-growing evergreens, have replaced old forests. The lack of tree species diversity in managed forests has a direct impact on the biodiversity of our forests.
Pulp and paper mills have been around for centuries and have caused much pollution being released into our atmosphere and environment. Paper mills can be fully-integrated mills or non-integrated mills. Integrated mills consist of a pulp mill and a paper mill on the same site. A pulp mill is a manufacturing facility that converts wood chips or other plant fiber sources into a thick fiber board which can be shipped to a paper mill for further processing. It is the pulping section of the mill which is the cause of the foul odor commonly associated with these mills. Pulp and paper mills have employed many people over the years and have been a great source of revenue for many businesses. There has, however, been many toxins from pulp and paper mills that have wreaked havoc with human health and the environment. Pulp pollution is a serious problem. Pulp and paper mills pollute our water, air, and soil. The pulp and paper industry is one of the largest and most polluting industries in the world and it is the third most polluting industry in North America. In Canada, for example, mills produce an average 40 oven-dry tonnes of sludge per day, which is de-watered and then either land filled or burned. Because of the different disposal methods, sludge pollutes soil, air, and water.
Kraft pulping, also known as sulphate, or chemical pulping, uses sulphur to get fiber out of trees. The sulphur chemicals cause the rotten egg smell of many pulp mills. Kraft pulping uses less than half of the tree. The rest ends up as sludge, which is burned, spread on land or land filled. Pulp mills emit a wide range of air emissions, such as particulate matter, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, volatile organic compounds, chlorine, chloroform, and chlorine dioxide. People need paper products but we need sustainable, environmentally safe production of paper products.
Recycled paper is made from waste paper, usually mixed with fresh wood pulp. Almost all paper can be recycled today, but some types are harder to recycle than others. Even papers that are recycled are not usually recycled together. Different grades of paper are recycled into different types of new products. Unlike most other recyclables, paper cannot be recycled over and over again. That is why virgin paper fiber is usually mixed with recycled paper when new paper products are made.
The demand for post-consumer and other post-mill materials is less because paper companies can label mill waste as recycled. When consumers buy what they think is recycled paper, they often get fake recycled and inadvertently erase their efforts to recycle waste paper. There have been several attempts from the private sector to get consistent and effective definitions for recycled paper so that the public can be assured that when they buy recycled paper, it is truly reducing the solid waste, as well as being more environmentally favorable than other papers. The paper marketplace has always offered buyers thousands of choices among virgin papers in different cost and quality ranges and now it offers a similar range of products in recycled papers.
Recycling paper helps make sure we get the most out of every tree we use, and it helps keep paper from clogging up our landfills. Each time paper is recycled, the cellulose fibers get shorter, and until eventually the paper won't hold together. That's why most recycled papers contain some new paper fibers mixed in with the old. Recycling requires businesses that collect, haul, and process recyclables, as well as businesses that manufacture products from recycled materials. There are various types of paper that can be recycled. Magazines, newspapers and catalogs should be recycled. In addition phone books, office paper, computer paper, mail, and some other paper products can be recycled.
Types of Paper that can be Recycled:
Newspapers and store flyers are one of the main sources of paper in society today.
Not only have old newspapers been used to produce recycled newsprint, newspapers are recycled into other products such as cereal boxes, egg cartons, grocery bags, tissue paper, cellulose insulation materials, animal bedding products and many more diverse products. Recycling newspapers saves valuable space in landfills. Anyone should be able to do this by putting newspapers in paper bags or tie in bundles. In general, you can include any inserts such as advertisements originally delivered with the paper. You can then bring them into recycling centers or put them in recycling bins. Your business, school or community may have green-recycling containers or recycling bins set up for newspapers and similar recyclables.
Office paper is another widely used paper source. There are several good reasons why office paper must be recycled. In North America, papers used in offices are usually high-grade, and these quality papers should not be reduced to waste. About three quarters of these papers are recyclable. An average business office employee can produce over a pound of paper waste in working for a business office daily. The quality of paper fibers degrades with repeated recycling, so there is a separate market for recycled white office paper. Production costs can be lowered simply by reducing office paper costs and using used paper whenever possible. Removing office paper from the garbage can reduce waste collection fees in half. One word of advice is to use a paper shredder when disposing of papers with sensitive information on them. Most recovered office paper can be sent to a de-inking mill, which separates the ink, coatings and other extra materials from the paper fibers. Sometimes the ink is not removed from the paper when it is reprocessed. The ink is dispersed into the pulp, discoloring it slightly, which is why recycled paper can have a grayish tinge. If the paper is to be de-inked, this can be done by washing or flotation.
Millions of phone books are disposed each year in North America. What do we do with them? Phonebook papers are 100 percent recyclable and are used primarily to make new phonebooks and are also sometimes recycled into building other materials and products you use in your home. However, many recyclers won’t accept telephone books because the fibers used to make the books’ lightweight pages are too short to be reformulated into new paper and mixing old phonebooks in with other waste paper can even contaminate the batch, hindering the recyclability of the other paper fibers. It is important to find out where to specifically bring old phonebooks for recycling. Your office or local telephone company probably have recycling bins set up so you can dispose of them properly for future recycling.
Tons of paper is used every year to make magazines and books. One of the first things to do in regards to magazines and books is to donate them to non-profit organizations like schools, libraries, clubs, churches and general meeting places when you are through with them. Some places have bins set up to drop old magazines and books in. However, these products tend to be more difficult to recycle because of the glossy material to make them and the glue used to bind books together.
Greeting cards that we distribute by the billions each year are big business. We should recycle this source of paper as well. In some areas special recycling bins have been set up to dispose of the cards properly. Gift-wrap is another source of paper that needs to be mentioned. This is not normally recycled so we need to reduce and reuse when possible. In fact, the Christmas holiday season in many parts of the western world with its accompanying buying, wrapping and celebrating substantially increases the amount of solid waste we generate, and paper is a huge part of that waste. However, there are many opportunities for the consumer to reduce, reuse and recycle the remnants of the holiday season. The Christmas holiday season has generally epitomized waste in all areas whether it is paper, electronic waste, not to mention the trees we chop down every year and dispose of a few weeks later. If we are going to make a difference in cutting waste and recycling we need to look at our habits at this time of year and make adjustments.
Cardboard is the single largest source of municipal solid waste that businesses produce every year. Even with the huge increases in recycling efforts over the past few decades, the amount of cardboard disposed, as municipal solid waste, is still overwhelming. Cardboard recycling can reduce waste disposal costs since the cardboard is removed from the waste stream. It is up to businesses and individuals to reuse and recycle cardboard. If you have a large number of boxes, you should flatten and take to a cardboard collection location nearest your building or to a cardboard recycling facility. Depending upon the amount of cardboard that ends up in the trash, your business may need to consider changing its waste processing practices to accommodate an efficient, recycling program. Efficient recycling of cardboard can not only free space and create a safer working environment; it can be a source of revenue when managed as a part of an extensive, waste management system.
Businesses that process and recycle cardboard can make money since the recycled cardboard market is a viable industry. Cardboard recycling can generate revenues from the sale of the recycled cardboard. When evaluating a cardboard recycling program there are many things to take into regard, but the main consideration is to understand the advantages that apply to your business by not only removing the cardboard from your waste stream and thus reducing hauling and landfill fees but also the revenues that can be generated from the sale of your recycled cardboard. The majority of cardboard recycled in the North America is collected and processed on-site by medium and large commercial establishments, including, department stores, supermarkets, other retailers and businesses with active shipping and receiving operations.
Cardboard is also one of the most frequently recycled materials, however not all cardboard containers are recyclable. Some of the cardboard sources that can be recycled are cereal, shoe, beverage, gift, and cardboard boxes, paper towel and toilet paper tubes and cardboard egg cartons. There are some consumer items that are made from paper and cardboard those are more difficult to recycle. Milk and juice cartons are not made from paper alone but comprise of about 75% paper and 25% plastic polyethylene and other materials. As they are a mixture of materials, they cannot be recycled along with ordinary cardboard. They are reprocessed into other items or incinerated to produce energy, or unfortunately disposed of in landfills.
Reduce Reuse and Recycle Paper:
When it comes to paper and cardboard we need to practice the 3 Rs of “reduce reuse and recycle”. We can cut our paper consumption by not printing out useless articles on a printer and to print of both sides of the paper. We can opt to read store flyers and catalogs on line when that option is available. Online billing is another option for individuals and businesses. Saving newspaper and cardboard for repacking is another option. Reusing gift boxes and wrap can also go a long way in cutting down the need to manufacture more paper. These are just a few examples of waste management that each one of use needs to participate in.
Producing recycled paper involves up to two-thirds less energy consumption than virgin paper and uses less water. This is because most of the energy used in papermaking is the pulping needed to turn wood into paper. Recycled paper produces fewer polluting emissions to air and water. Recycled paper is not usually re-bleached and where it is, oxygen rather than chlorine is usually used. This reduces the amount of dioxins, which are released into the environment as a by-product of the chlorine bleaching processes. Paper is a biodegradable material. This means that when it goes to landfill, as it rots, it produces methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Methane is estimated to be twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide. Global warming is an increasing reality, and methane and carbon dioxide emissions have to be reduced to lessen its effects. A lack of demand for post-consumer recycled paper products is the limiting factor in recycling more paper. However, many communities now provide a solid waste solution that is environmentally sound, highly efficient, safe and innovative, by utilizing the optimal mix of waste reduction, recycling, and disposal.
There are many options now for individuals and business to recycle paper products. Recycling centers are becoming more common along with recycling bins in diverse locations. Recycling is essential for a healthy environment. Waste management is crucial to saving our planet. The benefits of recycling are enormous and we owe it to future generations to practice environmentally sound principles to offset climate change and global warming.