Paper is one of the most common things people consume in their daily lives. Although the digital world has reduced the need for writing paper, it is still widely used for the printing of information materials and the production of various items.
According to statistics, in Europe, 200 kg of paper are used per person per year.
30 % of the paper annually used by the European population goes to unsorted household waste containers, which, on average, amounts to 23 Mt of waste paper per year. Unsorted waste is not recycled, so the waste paper ends up in landfills, where it is disposed of or incinerated.
In comparison to other waste materials, waste paper can be recycled relatively easily and successfully. However, a large part of the recyclable waste paper still goes to landfills.
REUSE OF WASTE PAPER FOR PRODUCTION IS COST-EFFECTIVE AND ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE
It saves space
The amount of waste paper discarded each year is significant, so, in time, landfills may start to lack space for its disposal.
When waste paper is not separated from unsorted trash, it is buried together with other household waste, thus taking up space that could be used for waste, which cannot be recycled and can only be buried.
Many European landfills have already used almost all of their space. If the amount of recyclable waste that is needlessly buried does not decrease, new areas will be needed for their disposal.
It conserves natural resources:
The raw materials needed for production mainly come from natural resources, the availability of which has been plummeting over the last 50 years due to the increase in production volumes. The consumption of these resources is greater than their ability to regenerate naturally.
Reusing waste paper primarily protects forests and trees from being cut down.
Trees contain wood fibre (cellulose), which is one of the natural resources that cannot be obtained artificially. Wood contains 40 %-55 % of cellulose and 5 m3 of forest is needed to obtain a ton of the fibre.
Waste paper is mainly reused for paper production.
It has been proven that recycling 1 t of waste paper can yield 800 kg of paper. It allows to save 4 m3 of wood, which is equivalent to 12-14 adult trees.
It conserves energy:
Using recyclable waste paper in production allows to create the same product with less energy. Consuming less energy in the production process also reduces the amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
As an illustration, the use of recyclable waste paper in paper production allows to save about 70 % of the energy needed when using natural resources (wood) to produce paper.
It decreases environmental pollution:
The use of recyclable waste paper as raw material in production reduces ecosystem pollution.
For example, making paper from recyclable paper requires half as much energy and water as making it from wood. In result, air pollution is reduced by 74 % and water pollution – by 35 %. Moreover, on average, 15 % of trees suitable for obtaining cellulose are not cut down and recyclable waste paper is not sent to landfills.
Using waste paper in production can reduce the total environmental pollution by up to 70 %.
It promotes circular economy:
Production is based on limited natural resources. It is therefore necessary to use the existing resources as sustainably as possible, while stimulating economic growth.
Circular economy is a production model that involves the reuse, repair, and recycling of resources so that the used resources are kept in use for as long as possible before they become disposable waste. It allows to extend the life cycle of materials, curbing the need for natural resources. In addition, the amount of waste in landfills is reduced to a minimum.
The reuse of waste paper prevents new natural resources from being exploited in production and breathes new life into materials, which have already been used and the creation of which has already required natural resources. Thus, new life is also given to an already used natural resource, but in a different form.
WHAT CAN BE PRODUCED FROM WASTE PAPER?
Waste paper is most often used to produce paper, cardboard, egg cartons, and other materials based on cellulose.
Today, however, manufacturers are coming up with innovative ideas to produce new products by reusing waste paper.
Nowadays, products such as thermal insulation materials, pet litter, and even furniture are being produced from recyclable waste paper.
The more waste paper is sorted and collected, the more manufacturers will be able to use it as raw material for new products and to come up with original ideas on how to recycle waste paper even more.
PROJECT “PAPER – HEMP INSULATION PILOT PRODUCTION” (LIFE PHIPP, LIFE17ENV/LV/000335) IS IMPLEMENTED WITH THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION LIFE PROGRAM AND STATE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY REPUBLIC OF LATVIA ADMINISTRATION OF LATVIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND.