You?re right about trees helping to remove carbon monoxide, but
mature trees do the job better than fast growing trees planted in
managed forests, specifically for producing huge amounts of pulp.
Then, there is the issue of other flora and fauna that suffer as
mature ?natural? trees are over-logged. There is a price to recycling
paper, but it is less than not recycling! Actually, burning palletized
recycled paper produces 10-20% less carbon than coal!
I?ve gathered numerous resources for you, presenting information on
both sides of the argument. Recycling actually DOES make sense! Please
read each site for complete information.
?Does recycling seem like an antiquated concept, or at least
something that's just not important to you? Maybe, maybe not. But
consider this: In one year, the energy conserved by the current level
of recycling saves enough energy to power nine million households for
?About 1/3 of the waste stream that goes to landfills is paper, which
is a real shame since there is a strong market for recycled paper.
Reusing more of our waste paper would help us reduce the acres of
forest land that are being clear cut every year to provide paper in
its myriad forms.?
?Other uses for recycled paper include the use of shredded paper
for packaging. This use is often associated with lower quality
recovered paper not appropriate for recycling into writing/printing
grade paper. The generation of shredded paper has increased in
numerous industries and agencies. The advantages of shredding paper
for reuse as packaging are decreased costs in alternative packaging
media such as Styrofoam peanuts. Shredded paper can also be composted
as opposed to disposed of in landfills (See Data Sheet: 7-III-7 Paper
Another recovered paper reuse alternative is in the production of fuel
pellets. Lower grade waste paper is pelletized and utilized as a solid
fuel source in industrial boilers.
Pelletized paper has similar physical characteristics to conventional
solid fuels, is easily consumed by boilers, and can be produced at
competitive costs. The advantages of using pelletized paper fuel
include: a new use for discarded paper; reduction in the consumption
of non-renewable fossil fuels; paper provides a higher level of heat
generation; and because paper contains little sulfur, its co-firing
with coal reduces sulfur emissions. Paper also produces 10-20% less
carbon than coal.?
There are pros and cons to recycling.
The Disadvantages and Costs:
? Contamination of paper with garbage or dissimilar materials, and
weather impacts increase handling costs.
? For some uses, recycled paper is of lower quality than virgin paper.
? De-inking plants are costly to build.
? Market value fluctuations make forecasting economic viability difficult.
? More landfill space is saved by recycling paper, than any other material.
? Paper recycling reduces air and water pollution.
? Recycled paper serves as feed stock for existing and developing
? There is an abundant supply of newspaper and cardboard.
? Paper can not be recycled indefinitely but it can be recycled about
five times before the fibers weaken.
?Still, Breining was curious how much environmental benefit the
state was buying for the extra $22,000 his magazine spent on recycled
paper. The benefits turned out to be small: sixteen cords of pulpwood
-- about what you'd get by clear-cutting a single acre of northern
Minnesota aspen woods.
Breining grants that paper recycling has other benefits, such as
reducing the need for landfills and the pollution caused by
paper-making. Still, he had to question whether spending $22,000 to
prevent the clear-cutting of one acre that cost $400 on the open
market was a smart use of taxpayer's and subscribers' money.?
?This glut of recovered paper is made into everything from paper to
boxes to animal bedding. And while the relatively small amount of
recycled papers used for writing and printing are struggling with high
prices and sluggish demand, the dominant sectors of the market are
doing much better.?
?Another strong area is newsprint. About 5.4 million tons of this
material, used for newspapers, is recovered each year, generally to
make more newsprint. The market is so promising that the Natural
Resources Defense Council, an environmental group in New York, is
coordinating the development of a large recycling plant in the South
?Reasons for recycling
To recycle makes economic sense because although it may not be cheaper
than ordinary paper:
? by not importing new pulp the UK can save up to 800 million on
balance of payments
? it saves on disposal costs such as burying in landfill sites or
burning in incinerators
? it provides employment for a large work force as waste management
including paper collection is a major industry
To recycle makes environmental sense because it
? reduces pressure for landfill sites
? reduces pressure on natural forests by encouraging planting of
managed commercial plantations
Generally speaking the production of recycled paper has less
overall environmental impact than producing paper using all new
material, when all production activities are taken into account.
Recycled paper production does use less energy, less water and creates
less pollution. However substantial upgrading of low quality waste,
could mean that the environmental advantages of recycling are reduced
?Benefits of Recycling Paper:
Save Money: Recycling services can be cheaper than trash
disposal services in many cases. Paper is usually the largest portion
of the waste stream in a business office. By separating your paper
from your trash your company may save money in trash disposal costs.
Divert Material from Disposal: Keeping paper out of the waste stream
will save landfill space and reduced pollution through avoided
Conserve Natural Resources: By substituting old paper to be
used in place of trees, recycling reduces the pressure to cut down
Save Energy: The steps in supplying recycled materials to
industry (including collection, processing and transportation)
typically use less energy than the steps in supplying virgin materials
to industry (including extraction, refinement, transportation, and
processing). But, most energy savings associated with recycling accrue
in the manufacturing process itself, since recycled materials have
already been processed at least once.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: By reducing the amount of
energy used by industry, recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions
that may lead to global warming. Energy used in the industrial
processes and in transportation involves burning fossil fuels like
gasoline, diesel and coal1.
Facts & Figures:
? To make one ton of paper using recycled fiber saves the following:
3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
360 gallons of water
100 gallons of gasoline
60 pounds of air pollutants
10,401 kilowatts of electricity
(source: United States Environmental Protection Agency)
?Nearly 218,000 tons of shredded paper is used each year for animal
bedding. (source: American Forest & Paper Association)
?Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing paper from
virgin timber. (source: Environmental Protection Agency)
?Recycling office waste paper saves valuable landfill space ? 3 cubic
yards for every ton of paper recycled ? and extends the lives of our
landfills. (source: National Office Paper Recycling Project, The
United States Conference of Mayors)
?The current average price paid for loose corrugated delivered to a
recycling center in the New York region is $38.00 per ton, while the
current average price paid for sorted office paper is $55.00 per ton.
Sorted white ledger is currently valued at $115.00 per ton. (Source:
Waste News) Of course, it is understood that there are costs
associated with collecting and transporting these materials. These
costs, however, are offset by the revenue earned on the materials
collected plus the savings resulting from not having to dispose of
this material as solid waste. Unfortunately, the avoided cost of
disposal is often left out of the recycling cost equation. This is
especially significant since solid waste disposal costs continue to
?Recycling corrugated cardboard, office paper and other materials also
makes economic sense on the macro-economic level as these activities
create many jobs and add significantly to the state and national
economy. According to the National Recycling Coalition, the recycling
comparable in size to the auto and truck manufacturing industry and
employs more than 1.1 million people.?
?Recycling Saves Landfill Space.
Americans are producing more waste with each passing year, most of
which is hauled off and buried in landfills. What?s wrong with that?
Well, it?s expensive and usually controversial to dig new landfills or
to build new incinerators. Recycling is one way to reduce the amount
of waste that is landfilled.
Recycling Can Reduce the Cost of Waste Disposal.
Getting rid of trash isn?t a free proposition. Garbage trucks must pay
to dump their waste at a landfill. The payment is called a tipping
fee, and it is based on the weight or volume of the garbage. Tipping
fees vary in different areas. In Vermont, one landfill charges about
$65 a ton for the waste it receives. Recycling reduces landfill costs
because less waste is landfilled. In 2003, recycling and composting
diverted 72 million tons of material from landfills.?
?RECYCLING IS BECOMING CHEAPER THAN WASTE EXPORT
Meanwhile, the fiscal outlook is improving for that portion of the
waste stream that is or could be recycled.
Newspapers, magazines, cardboard, junk mail, and other paper products
make up the single largest portion of the city's residential waste
stream. And for this commodity, the economic benefits of recycling are
New York City is paid for every ton of paper it delivers to recyclers.
For example, the Visy Paper Recycling Plant on Staten Island takes
about a third of the city's recycled paper waste from the Department
of Sanitation. The Visy plant de-inks these paper products and turns
them into paper used to make corrogated boxes and other products. On
average, the city is paid $7 a ton for paper sent to Visy and other
paper recyclers. In contrast to paying $66 or more per ton for trash
export, New York City benefits economically from every ton of paper it
?Every year more than 11 million tonnes of paper and board are
consumed in the UK . Much of this comes from Scandinavia. In order
to satisfy our increasing demand for wood and paper products, the
majority of the natural boreal forest in Scandinavia has been
converted into intensively managed secondary forest or plantations,
where the inhabitants of a true and complex forest eco-system struggle
About 5% of Scandinavian old-growth forest remains, and yet this is
still being logged . As a result, hundreds of plant and animal
species are endangered. The traditional way of life of indigenous
people, such as the Saami, is also threatened and their cultural
identity is in jeopardy.?
?Energy is needed to manufacture both virgin paper and recycled paper
but much less total energy is needed to produce recycled paper .
Industry quotes for typical energy savings from producing recycled
paper range from about 28%-70%. The amount of energy saved will
depend on paper grade, processing, mill operation and proximity to a
waste paper source and markets. Moreover, technical improvements to
reduce energy use are possible by introducing incremental design
improvements at each step of the papermaking process.?
?The energy debate has tended to be very narrow. The forest products
industry generally excludes, in its analysis, the fuel used in forest
management e.g. in drilling, seeding, harvesting, transport of timber
to the pulp mill and the pulp to distribution points. The proportion
of energy needs met by biofuels will vary from country to country,
pulping process and timber used.?
Consequences of excessive logging and replanting with ?super-pulp? trees:
?Where once grew some of the most biologically rich hardwood forest in
North America's Temperate Zone (which extends from the Gulf of Mexico
to southern Canada), there are now row after row of fast-growing
loblolly pine trees genetically engineered to yield the most pulp in
the shortest time. But the paper industry's insatiable appetite for
timber has met with unexpected competition from an equally voracious
insect. In the last four years, an estimated 50 to 70 percent of the
pines planted on the plateau have been devoured by the southern pine
?The cozy relationship that exists between Tennessee's public and
private sectors, and the impunity and magnitude of the environmental
destruction taking place on the plateau, are what you might expect in
Guatemala or deep in the Brazilian Amazon, not in our republic, where
there are supposed to be laws that protect our wilderness treasures
and prosecute conflicts of interest. But a quarter of the world's
paper and 60 percent of America's wood products are being produced in
the South, and the will to address the abuses of the paper industry,
which contributes millions of dollars to the campaign coffers of
politicians around the country, just isn't there -- certainly not in
Tennessee.? Pease see this site for further information.
?Genetic engineering of food crops has been a stealth technology,
introduced with little public debate and arriving on grocery shelves
unlabeled. Now another application of genetically engineered (GE)
agriculture is sneaking up on us - the production of transgenic trees
by paper and lumber companies. The possibility that the new genes
spliced into GE trees will interfere with natural forests isn't a
hypothetical risk but a certainty.
During our lives, genetic engineering may do as much damage to
forests and wildlife habitat as chain saws and sprawl.
This is not to say that every application of GE is bad. Sierra Club
has taken no positions regarding genetic engineering done in labs or
in indoor manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. But common sense should
warn us that commercial development of out-of-doors applications in
the absence of environmental safeguards is a prescription for
disaster. Sierra Club opposes the out-of-doors deployment of genetic
technologies because the genes are free - as free as pollen on the
wind - to invade nature, and because once this has happened they can't
be recalled. The arguments below are not intended to be inclusive but
only to illustrate the nature of the problem.?
?For instance, GE'd pines might be grown without all those "useless"
pine cones. They may be herbicide resistant so that competing
undergrowth can be eliminated. They may produce their own pesticides
so that many of the insects which live in association with trees are
The result, then, may be a silent forest, one which doesn't support
chipmunks or snakes at ground level, holds no birdsong in its
branches, has no raptors soaring above. Clearly, such a stand of trees
is not really a forest. And worse, the damage can't be confined to
private property as trees live for many years and can't be closely
observed; "birth control" among trees is less reliable than among
people and even genetic engineering can't guarantee that a branch
won't decide to manufacture pollen. Pine pollen can blow hundreds of
miles on the wind.?
?But even though it is true that marketing recyclables can actually
cost money, this charge is still lower than the fees charged at the
landfill for dumping these materials. For example, although a
municipality might be paying $25.00 to recycle a ton of newspaper,
that same ton in the landfill would cost well over $100.00. This is a
savings known as "Cost Avoidance". Add in the environmental benefits
such as reduced pollution and conservation of resources, as well as
saving landfill space for other, non-recyclable materials and
recycling is the clear winner.?
The American Forest and Paper Association ?Recycling -In 2005, a
record 51.5 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. (51.3 million
tons) was recovered for recycling. Paper recovery now averages 346
pounds for each man, woman and child in the United States.
While this is a significant accomplishment, we can do more. Our goal
is 55 percent recovery by 2012.?
? The world has lost nearly 200 million hectares of tree cover;
? Deserts are being expanded by some 120 million hectares;
? Thousands of plant and animal species are disappearing quickly
?Waste Paper Recycling
The benefits derived from recycling waste paper are:
? reduced water pollution of up to 35%
? reduced air pollution of up to 74%
? reduced energy consumption of 24-54%
? reduced harvesting of virgin forests
? reduced number of trees for paper making being grown in areas where
they cause damage
? 17 small trees saved / tonne of paper recycled
?Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by Massachusetts recycling:
By reducing the amount of energy used by industry, recycling also
reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps stem the dangers of global
climate change. This reduction occurs because much of the energy used
in industrial processes and in transportation involves burning fossil
fuels like gasoline, diesel and coal - the most important sources of
carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions into the environment.
? Massachusetts recycling reduced greenhouse gas emission by 1,701,604
metric tons of carbon equivalents in 2002, which is equivalent to
approximately 8.1% of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon
dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
perflurocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
? Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the equivalent of
12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of 24
? ? By recycling 1,365,432 tons of mixed paper, newsprint, and phone
books in 2002, Massachusetts reduced the need to cut 16,385,184 trees.
On average, a live trees removes 60 pounds per year of air pollution
from the environment.
?Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil,
three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and
7,000 gallons of water!
Americans use more than 67 million tons of paper per year, or about
580 pounds per person.
Paper products make up the largest part (approximately 40 percent) of our trash.
Making recycled paper instead of new paper uses 64 percent less energy
and uses 58 percent less water.
Every day American businesses generate enough paper to circle the earth 20 times!
Every day Americans recover more than 2 million pounds of paper!
That's about 40 percent of the paper we use.
Paper products use up at least 35 percent of the world's annual
commercial wood harvest.
?So does paper recycling save energy? Yes it does, although the
energy savings are not as spectacular as they are with aluminum and
A paper mill uses 40 percent less energy to make paper from recycled
paper than it does to make paper from fresh lumber. However, a
recycling mill may consume more fossil fuels than a paper mill. Paper
mills generate much of their energy from waste wood, but recycling
mills purchase most of their energy from local power companies or use
on-site cogeneration facilities.
Making recycled paper does require fewer chemicals and bleaches than
making all-new paper. Although recycled paper is less polluting than
paper made from wood fiber, both processes produce different
by-products. Paper mills may emit more sulfur dioxide, but recycling
mills may produce more sludge. Deinking at Cross Pointe?s Miami, Ohio
mill results in 22 pounds of sludge for every 100 pounds of wastepaper
Paper recycling does mean fewer trees are used to make paper, but
all-new paper is almost always made from trees specifically grown for
papermaking. A tree harvested for papermaking is soon replaced by
another, so the cycle continues. We are not talking about the rain
forest or old growth in the Pacific Northwest, says Champion Paper?s
Martin Blick. Most of the trees cut for paper come from fifth or sixth
generation pulp-wood forests.? Note that this last comment comes from
the paper industry.
Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled saves the equivalent of
cutting down 17 trees to make paper.
NRC?s Environmental Benefits Calculator
A single corrugated box can be recycled up to eight times.
Scrap Magazine, November-December 2001
Recycling saves energy
I hope this has helped you! If anything is unclear, please request an
Answer Clarification, and allow me to respond, before rating.
Paper recycling benefits
Costs + paper recycling
Pros + cons + paper recycling