EcoTip: Use recycled paper whenever you can

EcoTip: Use recycled paper whenever you can.

Using recycled paper is best for the environment because it conserves natural resources, reduces energy and water consumption, minimises pollution, and supports a more sustainable approach to paper production.

The benefits of using recycled paper:

  1. Reduces deforestation – recycled paper is made from wastepaper, like old newspapers and magazines. This reduces the need for virgin wood pulp, helping to preserve forests.
  2. Saves energy – producing paper from recycled materials usually requires less energy than making paper from virgin pulp. Recycling paper also involves less chemicals. This leads to a lower carbon footprint.
  3. Reduces water usage – the paper production process can use a lot of water, especially when pulping and bleaching virgin wood fibres. Using recycled paper reduces the need for these processes, conserving water and minimising water pollution (that is associated with paper production).
  4. Decreases air pollution – the production of paper from virgin pulp can release various pollutants into the air. Recycling paper generates fewer emissions, and contributes less to air pollution and climate change than producing paper from wood.
  5. Extends landfill life – when paper is not recycled, it often ends up in landfills, where it takes a long time to decompose. This paper will then also produce greenhouse gasses while in the landfill. So by recycling paper, you reduce the amount of waste in landfills, helping to extend their lifespan; and reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses going up into the air.
  6. Supports a circular economy – recycling paper is a key component of a circular economy, where materials are continuously reused and recycled, reducing the need for new resources, and minimising waste. This promotes sustainability and reduces the environmental footprint of paper production.
  7. Encourages responsible consumption – choosing recycled paper sends a message to producers that consumers value environmentally friendly practices. This could encourage businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.

Paper that has been recycled is easily available in South Africa, so the next time you buy paper, make sure you make the better choices. And don’t forget to put that paper back into the recycling bin when you are finished with it.

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