The paper life cycle looks crazy right? But clearly not all paper is saved when it can be
Reasons to recycle paper: - When paper ends up in landfill it can take 5-15 years for paper to breakdown. When it does breakdown it takes an anaerobic (lack of oxygen) instead of aerobic (with oxygen) process due to the compression systems in landfills. Anaerobic decomposition produces methane gas which is combustible thus making the landfill an environmental hazard. -Every ton of paper recycled is 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space saved. -A typical office generates ~1 pound of paper per employee and from that amount 77% is recyclable
-Using old paper to make new paper uses 30-50% less energy
Paper has become more and more successfully recycled. In 2017 50.8 million tons of paper was recycled while 22.4 million tons ended in landfill. The ratio is great however, as stated by Geyer et al, the main goal of recycling is the reduction of impacts by displacing virgin production. The real metric should not only be between what ends in landfill and what's recovered but also include the paper that's not discarded thus unable to recycle and also the avoidance of virgin inputs in the process as shown in the flow chart. The metric that includes this is the recycled input rate which is only at 38% while the collection rate is 54%. An increase in recycling does not mean a decrease in newly made paper. True change is when as much of newly made paper is actually recycled paper. This doesn't mean to stop recycling it's to keep doing it while spreading awareness of the need to corporations involved.
❤️www.paperrecycles.org (got all the stats and updates annually)
⭐Check your local municipal facilities for what/how they recycle materials
Van Ewijk, Stijn et al. Global life cycle paper flows, recycling metrics, and material efficiency" 2018.
#scicomm #sfsuscicomm #recycling #sustainability #greenliving #ecofriendly