Paper contributes to a significant amount of the world's rubbish. It is used to wrap and package products. It is also used to make newspapers, magazines and books. Paper recycling involves reusing or converting waste paper into new materials.
The paper recycling process
Stage 1: The paper recycling process begins by removing contaminants such as plastics and glass from the waste paper. The paper is then sorted into different classes.
Stage 2: The paper is shredded into small pieces, after which water is added to form pulp. The pulp is heated to break down the paper into smaller pieces.
Stage 3: The pulp is screened to remove any foreign objects such as glue, tape and staples. The pulp is cleaned in preparation for de-inking.
Stage 4: During the de-inking process, chemicals are added into the pulp to remove ink. Colour-stripping chemicals can be added to the pulp to produce a particular colour. To produce white paper, the pulp is bleached to get rid of all colours.
Stage 5: Depending on the intended use of the final product, wood fibre can be added to the pulp to strengthen or smooth it. Water is removed from the pulp, and the fibres are pressed to form sheets.
The advantages of paper recycling
Most of the world's paper is manufactured from trees. Cutting down trees has a tremendous impact on the environment as they absorb carbon dioxide and bring rainfall. Besides, trees help in preventing disasters such as landslides. With the world's forest cover decreasing annually, paper recycling offers an opportunity to reduce destruction of forests and reduce the rate of global warming.
Waste paper pollutes the natural beauty of the environment. When burnt, it pollutes the air. Further, waste paper threatens the health of sea animals such as fish. Recycling also saves space in landfills so fewer landfills are required to dispose of waste.
The process of recycling paper consumes less energy and water compared to producing paper from trees.
Paper recycling creates employment opportunities. Some people collect the paper, some sort it and some operate the machines that recycle the paper.
Paper recycling helps in reducing the destruction of forests. It also creates employment, saves energy and reduces environmental pollution. The paper recycling process begins with sorting the paper, pulping it, screening it to remove contaminants, de-inking it and removing water to produce new sheets of paper.