Deforestation, dwindling landfill sites, pollution and health problems are just some of the problems that can be helped by using recycled products.
Deforestation is becoming an increasingly alarming issue worldwide. In Australia alone, European settlement has reduced the total area of native forest from approximately 226 million hectares to 155.5 million hectares in just over 200 years.(i)Nearly 80% of the world’s large areas of ancient forest have already been destroyed, with an area the size of Melbourne (approximately 2,400 sq km) still being cleared every week. That’s an area the size of a soccer field logged every two seconds! (ii)
Australia currently consumes 3.26 million tonnes of paper per year (approximately 180kg per person), most of which is manufactured from virgin fiber.(iii) By increasing our use of recycled paper, we decrease the amount of demand for new timber, which can help reduce deforestation rates worldwide. Like deforestation, the problems of dwindling landfill sites and -pollution may also be assisted through recycling.
Waste management is one of the most pressing issues in the world today. Our ability to generate waste has increased to the point that in 1989 Australia tied with the USA in producing 1.6kg of waste per person per day, second only to Canada who produced a world record 1.7kg.(iv)
“Most sectors in society are increasingly becoming aware that the current patterns of production and consumption are not ecologically, socially or economically sustainable. By far the most desirable objective is to avoid waste before it becomes an environmental or human health problem. In most cases the waste management hierarchy remains very relevant: Reduce (or avoid), Reuse (products or components), and Recycle (materials).” To add insult to injury, each tonne of potentially recyclable paper dumped into landfill sites occupies approximately one cubic metre of increasingly valuable space and produces greenhouse gases equivalent to around four tonnes of carbon dioxide.(v)
(iii) Source: Forestry Australia (iv) Source: State of the Environment Report for Manitoba (v) Source: University of New South Wales