Manufacturing virgin paper requires cutting of trees. With global issues such as deforestation, acid rain, pollution, soil erosion, ozone layer depletion, and global warming, we all know how crucial it is to save trees at this point. Depletion of forest reserves indirectly affects the natural habitat of many species. It is inspiring to know that recycling even 1 ton of paper can save up to 17 trees! Not only this, it also saves about 5,000 gallons of water, as well. To add to it, you can also avail some economic benefits by depositing used papers in exchange of money.
How to Go About It
Almost each and every city or county has a program through which one can recycle not only paper, but other materials including glass, plastic, aluminum, and the like. You can inquire about the recycling program in your county by getting in touch with the Department of Public Works in your respective area. Usually newspapers, white office papers, and colored papers are acceptable, however, wax papers, parchment papers, etc., are not recycled everywhere. You'll have to check with the department for the same.
The process works like this. Firstly, you need to separate the different kinds of paper and keep them in separate groups. Deposit them at a recycling drop-off center, from where they will be taken to the mill. The paper fibers are de-inked to create an all new paper for usage.
Recycling at Home
There are a lot of fun ways through which you can recycle paper at home. Try it with newspapers. All you need to do, is to soak its shredded pieces in water for a day or two until the color of the solution gets black. Take a big flat vessel and fill it up with 4 inches of water and 2 tablespoons of glue. Mix it up properly until smooth. Now, add the strained pulp in the vessel. Take out the extra undissolved clumps and mix it well, till you get a smooth content.
You would also require a frame which you can create by molding a wire hanger into a rectangular shape. Now, insert this frame up to the bottom of the vessel and slowly lift it up. You should not take less than 30 seconds to lift it from bottom to top. Now, dry it up with the help of a dryer or under natural sunlight. It is a good activity to keep the kids engaged, as it will help them understand the benefits of recycling with great interest.
Some Other Ways to Try
Paper is one of the important resources used for various arts and crafts purposes. You can reuse papers for this purpose, instead of buying brand new sheets from the market. Here is how -
- You can use shredded paper for filling in some soft toys or throw pillows, instead of buying synthetic padding.
- You can also use shredded or crumpled newspapers/wrapping papers for packaging. This would save you from the trouble of buying Styrofoam.
- Instead of throwing away the one-sided printed papers, you can use their plain side for reprinting casual notes and data.
- You can also make various artworks using origami techniques―a great way to indulge your kids in the process.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, one among the many benefits of recycling paper, is that it results in 74% lesser air pollution, and 35% lesser water pollution, when compared to making a virgin paper. I think if a simple step such as this can cause less pollution, save energy, trees, and natural habitats, then all the efforts are absolutely worth it, don't you think?