Now, for the highly anticipated paper recycling facts.
As mentioned, paper can be recycled up to 7 times per virgin sheet. The best part is paper usually comes from “waste” products to begin with. A third of paper is made from other recycled paper. (This number will continue to grow as technology in the industry advances) Another third comes from wood chips and scrap leftover from lumber mills. The last third comes from “new growth” trees which we will get into next.
More trees and forests exists today than they did 20 years ago. The American Forest and Paper Association shows there are 20% more trees today than on the first ever ‘Earth Day’, which was held over 40 years ago. The common misconception that the paper industry is chopping down old forests is just that, a misconception. As soon as the market noticed trees were being used for paper products, family owned forests began tree farms. They grow trees just like you would wheat or corn, planting and harvesting crop every year. This has been a highly sustainable industry with even more positive takeaways; being family owned and all, these tree farms won’t sell the land. (Unless the need for paper falls in which case the world is ending) 35% of all national forest is family owned. The forests that are not owned by families run the risk of just being developed over. That is an absolute way of destroying forests.
The paper industry takes care of the environment arguably better than any other industry out there. The environment is this industries livelihood, to neglect it would be financially devastating for all involved.
Some paper mills are more efficient with their energy than actual power plants. These mills can actually sell the electricity they generate to those power plants to be put on the grid! Talk about a recycling powerhouse!