Daily Archives: December 6, 2014

Speaking of recycling paper… good to know!

Yuri Rios writes in El Diario, 11/25/2014:

Speaking of recycling paper

Papel, La Prensa, 06/19/2012The years of reading have its consequence. And I do not mean just reading books but also newspapers or periodicals from local and national circulation, which over time were inexorably accumulating. Sections worthy to be collected as supplements and magazines were retained, while the rest representing almost all were crammed into the corner of a cold reservoir waiting for someone at some point give them use. I have tried endlessly to place them in businesses that are dedicated to the collection of paper and other materials into disuse, but failed miserably, did not accept under any argument which even let them have for free,  a ton of accumulated newspapers. They could not explain clearly the reason for their stubborn position, assuming that this material is recyclable. [picture shown here is from La Prensa article, June 19, 2012]

Many years ago, grabbed by the momentum and curiosity of the youth, I recycled paper fabricated from a mixture of past papers and old notebooks; following a procedure that today would describe as cumbersome, I must admit that the result was unsatisfactory, despite having carefully followed all the steps of the recipe. The experiment mentioned that to lessen the time of preparation, particularly in the process of comminution was necessary to employ a blender; and as recycling never left homogeneous, this part was covered by using an iron. Now, a quick review on both devices shows that the energy consumption is high, since to gather 1,800 watts of power, equivalent to 60 saving bulbs of 30 watts each average more than three times those in my home! The power consumption is proportional to the power of an electric apparatus, ie the more power consumption is consistent with the time of use. Another unfortunate aspect was the volume of potable water used, as it was exorbitant when compared with poor production of recycled sheets (two or three legal size sheets). The remaining water “more pain than glory” was tipped to drain, coupled to particles and dyes derived from screening. Remember this experience helped uncover the unknown and once again confirmed the saying that “not all that glitters is gold”.

In conclusion, recycle any paper, is equally or more expensive than everyone imagines. With the purchase of recycled paper, don’t think you’re making a great favor to the environment, as the waste of energy and non-renewable natural resources, inherently brings serious implications on the planet, as the enhanced greenhouse effect and desertification. Also, the essential homemade processes or manual recycled paper, are a true reflection of what happens industrially, but on a smaller scale. Comparative tables indicate that in both procedures 99% of the water used is wasted. A premise states that if it is equally or more expensive to recycle or more energy than necessary is required, it is best not to recycle.

A large paper industries in developed countries are cheaper and convenient to strip the nature of hundreds or thousands of hectares of native forest or virgin to plant pines and eucalyptus (farm forests), main raw material for new paper. And reaches over, the global demand for paper is voracious, as the current consumerist system and predator is also contributing to the progressive destruction of tropical forests, rich in biodiversity to plant one tree species! Just think of how much paper is used daily in one way or another, because it comes in almost every product purchased.

Furthermore, recycling paper companies are not interested at all in recycling newspapers, because of the structure that are shaped with (short cellulose fibers), which prevent repeatedly recycling, in contrast to the papers made from long fibers, such as office paper, more value. It is generally accepted that a fiber to be used up to five times before it’s too short to be recycled into paper products. This is the explanation of why intermediaries do not want to receive newspaper and also the reason why the experiment did not work out so well.

The famous ecological phrase “three Rs” (recycle, reduce and reuse) should take the first R out because it does not conform entirely to the current circumstances; what little they have in their favor is related to the increased space in landfills. Of the remaining terms, this is the one, from my point of view, of greater importance: reduce, for it is when a direct and comprehensive effect on the reduction of environmental damage is achieved; involves buying less and less superfluous or redundant items (cell phones, televisions, etc.), and rationing or consume less energy and natural resources (water, gas, electricity, etc.).

Meanwhile, I dedicate to reuse copies and the blank side of printed or if there is no other choice to transform newspapers crafts (baskets, hats, jewelry, animal figures, etc.), which incidentally are a good anti-stress therapy.


This was a great article!