Guess what – Americans are pretty good when it comes to paper recycling. But many don’t really understand why that is such a good thing or what it means. So when you recycle all that paper you in the blue bin beside your desk in the office, think about this:
Today, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recycling one ton of paper has numerous benefits such as saving enough energy to power to the average home for the six months.
You will also be saving 7,000 gallons of water.
You might ask, how can recycling a ton of paper do all that? Well, the EPA terms it as “light weighting and source reduction.” The EPA reports on its website: “Light weighting means reducing the weight and/or volume of a package or container, which saves energy and raw materials.” The less paper stock a manufacturer has to make – the less energy and other natural resources they have to use.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) reports that more paper is recovered in America for recycling than all other materials combined (except for steel). In 1990, the US forest and paper products industry established a goal of recovering 40 percent of the paper consumed in the US. That goal was achieved in 1996 and then the industry went on to establish a 50 percent recovery goal, which was achieved in 2003, and a 55 percent recovery goal by 2012.
Here is the good news, all the paper recycling efforts in this country are making an impact. According to an EPA municipal report, in 2010, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled and composted over 85 million tons of this material. And that is indeed good news!