Over the years, there has been a slight concern about the role of paper and paper mills in contributing to environmental pollution. It’s widespread knowledge that the world is going green. Every industry is looking for measures to help in making the environment safe, and the paper industry isn’t left out. How then can the paper industry get greener? To discuss this, let’s take a look at this commodity, its producers, and the industry.
The production and use of paper
Now, the common question on everyone’s lips is ‘what is paper made of?’ However, accurate answers cannot be provided without addressing the question ‘how is paper made?’ The raw material used in the production of paper is pulp. Depending on the type of paper and production process, cotton and other fibres are added to it. The real problem with this is due to the presence of cellulose in the pulp – papers don’t degrade easily. Even with the advent of disposable paper, high consumption levels still leads to a lot of waste accumulation. Have you ever seen so much refuse, and wonder where does paper come from? A simple visit to dump sites will reveal the extent to which paper affects the environment. About 26% of solid waste in dumping sites comes from discarded paper and cardboard.
Paper usage is still popular around the world. But with the advent of digital media, less pressure is put on the use of paper. Now, people can do a lot of reading and write everything online. Digital writing has evolved such that even students can seek out for help with their essay writing. As a part of the digital revolution, there are now top essay writing services to aid students in writing any essay paper, and the results are immense. Also, there are thousands of blogs and articles on the internet that can be accessed anytime and anywhere without having to resort to paper writing. However, papers remain quite popular and are used in newspapers, books, letters, and maps. Also, there are a variety of other products that rely on paper products such as tissue papers, bandages, building materials, personal care items, and so on.
Despite the effects of paper on the environment, its usefulness is undeniable. The production of papers has increased steadily over the years, and now we have about 5882 paper mills in USA alone. This is quite alarming, but there’s some good news. The paper industry has started to go green, and there are now a lot of changes that have cut down the harmful effects of paper on the environment.
The progress made by the paper industry and the role of digital media
In a bid to further combat the harmful effects of paper production, paper mills in USA and other parts of the world have adjusted significant parts of their production and are now more concerned about keeping the environment safer. These manufacturers are accused of cutting down thousands of trees as they are the major sources of paper. However, with the advent of newer technology, about 39% of the fibre used for papermaking is gotten from recycled paper. The remaining wood is gotten from forest thinning activities. In fact, only about 36% of the timber which is harvested in the United States is used in paper production.
Mills in the United States have become more aware of making the environment safer. These companies are even now charged to make use of only certified wood to be used in the production of paper. In the production process, every component of the wood is now converted into useful products. The products gotten are effectively used in energy production and other by-products such as adhesives, rubber, and vanilla flavoring. This helps to ensure that wastage is reduced and there is a reduction in environmental pollution.
They have also managed to reduce the number of materials that are discharged into the environment. In 2015, the paper industry was responsible for only about 5% of the total waste released into the environment by USA manufacturers.
To combat the issue of wastage and pollution, paper industries aim to recycle more paper. In 2015, 59% of the paper used was recycled. These industries have also set a recycling goal of 70% by 2020. There is now a new-found commitment to look for more effective ways to make use of the disposed of paper. For every ton of paper recovered, dumping sites are reduced by 3.3 cubic yards. This creates more space for other waste material to be deposited.
The advent of newer technology
In the paper industry, there is a high demand for innovative technology. Raw materials and production processes are under scrutiny to reduce pollution and hazards to the environment. There is now an increase in the number of co-products gotten from paper products such as transportation fuel and biodegradable plastics. Nanocellulose is also another byproduct of wood production. It is tougher than Kevlar and used for a variety of applications. Intensive research about the use of paper has revealed that electric circuits can be printed on paper. It represents a cheap and flexible way to reduce paper wastage.
Paper manufacturing companies now not only convert wood into paper. Soon, these mills will be responsible for the production of adhesives, chemicals, transportation fuels, and other materials. Over time, we can only expect that these industries will make the environment safer as more and more innovative technology is invented.