There is no doubt that these days we create a lot of waste every day, while we go about our consumption fixated lifestyles. Among these different waste streams, paper is one of the largest wastes produced in our generation. In fact, waste paper accounts for over 25% of the waste in landfills. The constant overproduction and over usage of this resource has devastated the environment we live in.
Production of paper requires an incredible number of resources. Over the past few years, roughly 4 billion trees (35% of the total trees in the world) have been cut down for the production of paper. That means roughly 2.47 million trees go into the production of paper each day. However, that is not all that is required to make paper. Producing paper requires 17,000 gallons of water per ton of paper. As well as many other hazardous chemicals in the process.
As usual, these paper products go through their typical linear life cycle and ends up in the waste that piles up and destroys the environment. However, this linear cycle can be looped through the process of recycling. Paper recycling is one of the easiest recycling processes.
(Data Source: Green Nature, 2001)
Currently, only 50% of office paper is collected for recycling, and even when paper is recycled, most of us do not know where it ends up. Irresponsible recycling companies cause greater pollution problems by dumping by-products into our water sources, further contributing to the environmental problem.
If properly produced and recycled, as much as 80% of recovered paper can be recycled. Paper is considered one of the most sustainable products as it can be recycled to create the same thing. By recycling paper responsibly, not only would we conserve natural resources, but also reduce the amount of paper that would end up in landfills, and thus reduce pollution produced from the recycling process.
The Paperback Project
In March 2018, Green Initiatives (GI) in collaboration with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Crown Relocations launched Paperback – Shanghai’s premier paper recycling project connecting schools & corporates directly with the paper manufacturers. This project provides corporations and participants of the project a transparent means to recycle paper waste responsibly and raise awareness to reduce paper waste.
Crown Relocations is a domestic and international relocation service for both individuals and families. Crown Relocations is a long-term partner of Green initiatives on various waste recycling projects. The Paperback project is the latest recycling project collaboration. The main logistics for Paperback is managed and processed by Crown Relocations. Where all paper collected are transported and collected through Crown’s transportation and network. Then stored in their warehouse in Shanghai until it is ready to be transported to APP's Factory in Ningbo for recycling.
Asia Pulp and Paper, known as APP in the paper industry, is one of the largest pulps and paper companies in the world. However, APP is not just one of the largest paper manufacturers in the world, they are also one of the leading paper recycling facilitators, thus displaying their commitment to their sustainability goals. Apart from focusing on paper recycling, APP’s CSR team also focuses on Sustainable Forestry, their biggest resource for paper production. Their goal is to become the world’s premier, fully integrated green-cycle plantation, and pulp and paper conglomerate.
Currently, waste paper collected through the Paperback project is transported to APP’s recycling facility in Ningbo. In the paper manufacturing process, the waste paper goes through many different stages, the one being the pulping process. At the Ningbo factory, waste paper is shredded into smaller pieces, mixed with hot water, and sieved. The cleaning process then removes unwanted objects such as staples and the refining process during which colors are extracted and the pulp is beaten to an even consistency. The papermaking process then combines some virgin pulp with the recovered pulp and squeezes out excess water before drying the final product.
Why working with APP is different?
At APP’s sprawling recycling facility, there is a huge wastewater treatment plant where 40,000 tons of water are treated daily before being released, and this facility ranks among the top domestic paper manufacturers with the lowest water consumption levels. In other words, the wastewater recycling process creates no pollution and is a strongly effective solution. Wastewater produced meets EPA standards, where random and quarterly inspections are carried out, in addition to third-party inspections that APP voluntarily commissions.
Participants and Project Achievements
The following companies are currently participating in the project:
- APP | Asia Pulp and Paper
- EF Education First
- Life Solutions Purification Equipment Trading
- Wellington College International Shanghai
- Yew Chung International School
- WeWork Shanghai
Paperback is currently supported by 2 schools, 3 corporate offices and 1 shared co-working space in Shanghai. GI has already reached out to more than 1000 people; raising awareness on the problem of pollution caused by waste paper and the impacts of improper recycling.
A major focus of the project is awareness and getting people to segregate their waste, to enable proper recycling. Within the first year, this project has already collected 4500 kg of waste papers. In 2019, GI aims to work with commercial buildings for the collection of a larger volume of waste paper generated by their office tenants.
Are you interested in launching a paper recycling project on your campus? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.