The goal of programs such as Waste Reduction Week in Canada and America Recycles Day, both held in the fall, is to promote and celebrate recycling and environmentally conscious choices. Activities like community events are designed to build understanding and encourage people to develop the daily recycling habit.
Businesses, which are huge paper consumers, can step up and increase their recycling rates by 20% by making recycling more convenient for employees, according to a study on workplace attitudes and behaviour. Nothing complex is required – it’s mainly a matter of placing the right bins in the right places.
The Environmental Paper Network points out the importance of proper sorting: “Once office paper is combined with newsprint, boxes, packaging and magazines into ‘mixed paper’ bales, it cannot be used by mills making printing and office papers. Sorted out, though, it’s exactly the fibre source they need.”
The recovery rate for paper and cardboard waste was a healthy 67% in 2016, up from 63% in 2010, and way ahead of 46% in 2000. By weight, more paper is recovered for recycling from MSW than glass, plastic, steel and aluminum combined.
The first benefit of recycling paper is less landfill. Decomposing paper is a major source of landfill methane, a significant contributor to climate change. The use of recovered fibres in recycled paper avoids the creation of more than 20 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents a year.
Recycling is also good for business. Recycling creates at least 10 times more jobs than landfilling and incinerating waste. Half of those jobs are for collecting and processing recyclable materials; half are for either manufacturing new products (like recycled paper), composting or reusing old materials found in recycling bins.
Recycled paper manufacturer, Rolland, sees post-consumer recycled fibre as a valuable renewable resource. Like any sustainability-minded business, Rolland makes the most of that resource by limiting fibre loss in its paper manufacturing process. The same attitude extends to other natural resources, like water, because its mill recirculates each drop 30 times. And since Rolland relies on biogas energy from a local landfill site, it truly gets the maximum benefit from the waste stream.
Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), Ancient Forest Friendly, Ecologo and Processed Chlorine Free certifications, among others, confirm Rolland’s commitment to manufacturing best practices. These environmental certifications also let Rolland's customers know they are doing the right thing, when buying sustainable paper.
As the demand for recycled paper increases, the greater the need for a higher recycling rate to provide the required post-consumer fibre. This also means less landfill, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and more jobs!