The art of paper recycling dates to 1031. At the time, mulberry, gampi, and hemp were typically used to make paper. Due to material and labor shortages at the time, as well as a reshuffling of the social classes, Japanese shops needed new materials to make paper. Some of the first recorded paper recycling occurred in 1031 when it became common practice. This process evolved until recycled paper even made its way into books used in the Imperial Japanese Library.
It is safe to say that the process of paper recycling—and its importance—have evolved quite a bit since 1031. These days, educating people on the world of paper recycling is crucial to slowing climate change, supporting biodiversity, and so much more. That is why NORPAC is installing equipment that will allow us to recycle 1 million tons of waste paper every year starting in July 2022. To highlight the importance of this equipment, we have assembled a guide to why paper recycling matters, and how it impacts our planet.
1. Save Energy
Paper shows up everywhere. Whether you are printing legal documents, unwrapping a package delivered to your home, or taking a receipt from the gas station, paper is an integral foundation of modern life. And it is a much better alternative to other materials, such as plastic.
Recycling one ton of paper saves 4,000 kilowatts of energy. That is enough energy to power an average household in the United States for six months! This approach to energy conservation helps us use energy where it truly matters.
2. Cut Carbon Emissions
By comparison, collecting recyclable paper and transforming it into a new product is a relatively low-energy process. Recycling paper matters because you are keeping it out of the landfill.
When more paper is added to landfills, it produces methane. This is a powerful greenhouse gas that is proven to contribute to global warming. When trash decomposes in the landfill, this produces methane. Methane negatively contributes to issues involving greenhouse gases and the ever-thinning ozone layer that is crucial to a hospitable planet.
When paper is recycled, it reduces the amount of methane in the atmosphere. This helps slow global warming, which is crucial to maintaining a habitable planet.
3. Reduce Landfills
The United States produces 268,000,000 tons of trash in a given year. 12% of that number is composed of paper and paperboard products. For every ton of paper that is recycled, there are 3.3 fewer cubic yards of a landfill that is created.
Why is this important? Many landfills are not well-designed. They often contaminate soil and groundwater. This negatively impacts the environment, local communities, wildlife, flora, and fauna.
In the United States, our landfill problem is out of control. In some locations, landfills are so big that you can see them from space! It is hard to imagine, but the reality is we are running out of space for all the garbage we generate.
At NORPAC, our sustainable practices and emphasis on recycling help create a healthier environment and a safer planet. To learn more about what we do, contact us today!