Important Note on Recycling Paper Packaging: The vast majority of paper packaging recycling programs are only operating at a modest 4-5% recycling rate. To help achieve an increase in recycling rates, it is important that recyclers properly recycle paper correctly. Many paper manufacturers recommend that you don’t just throw away any paper that comes into your office. Instead, you should segregate by type (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, etc) and then recycle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
It is important for paper recycling programs to segregate paper by type because different types of waste produce different waste solutions. For instance, paper that is generated from cardboard does not mix well with oil and other fluids, but it is a very good fuel for diesel engines. So, while oil cannot be recycled with cardboard, the oil from oil can be used to power machinery that is designed to recycle cardboard instead of paper. This is why oil is one of the main ingredients in successful paper recycling programs.
Another reason that it is so important to properly recycle wrapping paper is because different paper packaging materials have very different uses in the final product. Think about gift bags. Gift bags are recyclable, but they would be much less attractive as a wrapping paper product if not recyclable. In fact, it would probably be better to simply throw the gift bags in the trash rather than re-use them. So, it is important for paper recycling programs to separate paper by type.
The third reason this is important is because most food containers, juice cartons, coffee cups, etc. are all recyclable paper products. However, some recycling bin manufacturers suggest that the exterior of the container be shredded first to shred smaller pieces. This may make sense from a logistics point of view, since paper is considered a heavier material than plastic. However, if you consider that paper can be shredded for food containers, and many of these containers are clearly marked “recyclable only” this can seem like a waste.
You have another option when it comes to proper disposal of recyclable paper made products. It is called a short ton of disposed waste. A “short ton” of any kind of waste material means one pound of waste material. Because paper made from renewable resources is supposed to be recycled, and because many municipalities have requirements for recycling paper made from recycled resources, and because a good portion of this waste is destined for the landfill, you might be wondering if it is worth the effort to separate this waste from your home and office waste.
This question is complicated by the fact that you don’t always know what is recyclable paper and what isn’t. For example, cardboard boxes may not be considered recyclable paper. Even when they are recyclable, if the cardboard has been twisted and used to create something, such as an item for the home, you could be in violation of local ordinances if you do not recycle paper recycled in this way. The same is true for plastic. Many people believe that glass and metal are recyclable, but you need to understand that this is rarely the case.
So what should you do if you want to recycle paper, but you don’t know whether or not the materials are recyclable paper? First, you should always recycle paper if you use it for personal purposes, including sending an email or letter. If you send business-related documents, or if you simply recycle cardboard boxes, you are doing a good deed and reducing your impact on the environment.
The best option if you are worried about paper and cardboard is to take them to a local printer and shred them at home. There are now companies that will take your recyclable materials and make hard copies of them. You can take your recycled materials to a local print shop and have them shredded into hard copies using your own choice of paper quality. This will help you get all of your paper materials recycled and will allow you to continue to reuse some of the materials.