Summary of documentations on paper recycling
In Japan, the US, Europe and China
Recycling benefits the environment much more than other waste management methods (Technical University of Denmark and the Danish Topic Centre on Waste and Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), 2006). With the environmental, economic and societal benefits, we can conclude that building an effective paper recycling system in China would be a good idea. This paper is a basic summary of paper recycling practices in Japan, the US and Europe. It is intended to be a reference for drawing up an appropriate and practical plan for school and office paper recycling projects in China.
Paper Recycling Statistics
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Europe’s progress in paper recycling has been very impressive since the European paper industry made a commitment to increase paper recycling and implement better performance measurement practices in 1998. The level of consumption of paper is now roughly the same as it was in 1998, while the recycling rate is 1.5 times higher.
Compared to developed economies mentioned above, China has a comparatively worse performance in paper recycling. In 2011, the volume of recovered paper was 43 million tons, and the paper recycling rate was only 44.59%. Because of uneven development, recycling rates were different from region to region. Coastal provinces have higher paper recycling rates than the inner and western parts of China.
Paper Recycling Practices
Paper recycling starts at the source. Sources of recovered paper are divided into 4 categories: residential, commercial, industrial and offices and institutional. This measurement method is universal throughout the world.
In Japan, there is a high level of public awareness about paper recycling. They also have the Law on the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources to regulate paper recycling. They reclassified the sources into 3 groups: “family residences”, “small-quantity sources” and “large-quantity sources”. Different kinds of collectors collect paper from different groups. Then the collectors deliver all the paper they collect to recyclers. The recyclers will check the quality of the paper and sort the paper into different kinds and press the same quality paper into standard-sized units. The recyclers will sell the sorted and pressed paper units to paper mills as raw material. The collector’s role can be performed by local authorities, neighborhood associations, public facilities, super markets, etc.(Paper recycling in Japan, 2012). The most important thing is that people in Japan are aware of the importance of waste classification and paper recycling. This makes it easier to accomplish the following paper recovery steps.
Europe’s system is similar, except that collectors take up the recyclers’ job, so the paper goes directly from collectors to paper mills. Besides that, Europe also has thorough and strict regulations on paper recycling. To improve paper recycling in the office, ERPC gives 9 simple rules that are easy to remember and perform, in addition to national and regional guidance (Paper recycling in the office, 2012).
In the U.S., the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act of (1976) is the very first regulation concerning paper recycling. Now, more than 13 states have regulations specifically on paper recycling. In contrast to Japan, the paper collection in the U.S. is mostly fulfilled by private companies. The market competition mechanism helps increase the efficiency in all businesses. In this case, paper recycling is not an exception (A brief analysis of American paper recycling methodology, 2013).
A Draft of Paper Recycling Protocol in...