Because of concerns over the environment, the number of products made from recycled paper have rapidly increased. Many paper products are now made from recycled paper, from toilet paper to greeting cards. Recycled paper products may be made from 100 percent recycled paper or, more commonly, they may be made from a mixture of new and recycled paper. To determine how much recycled paper is present in recycled paper products, contact their manufacturers, research the products online, and read labeling carefully.
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Toilet Paper and Tissues
Buying toilet paper and tissues made from recycled paper is one of the most eco-friendly purchasing decisions you can make. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), "If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees." The NRDC also states that "If every household in the United States replaced just one box of virgin fiber facial tissues (175 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 163,000 trees." Like most recycled paper products, recycled paper toilet paper and tissues are available in both bright white and "natural" colors. It is recommended that you not purchase white, or bleached, paper products, as the chlorine used in bleaching paper has a detrimental effect on the environment. According to the San Mateo County RecycleWorks, "The bleaching of paper, whether virgin or recycled, is the leading cause of toxic water pollution in the United States."
Printer and Copier Paper
Printer and copier paper can both be made from recycled paper. Recycled printer and copier paper is available in a range of colors. According to the San Mateo County RecycleWorks, "Each 20 cases of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4,100 kwh of energy. It also eliminates 60 pounds of air-polluting emissions and saves 8 cubic feet of landfill space."
Many companies offer greeting cards made of recycled paper. Because greeting cards are an especially wasteful use of paper, since they only have a single use, buying greeting cards made from recycled paper is a very environmentally conscious gesture.
Paper Towels and Napkins
According to WholeLiving.com, paper towels and napkins are highly wasteful. A cloth rag may be used to perform many household tasks over a long period of time whereas a paper towel can only be used once. Similarly, cloth napkins are preferable to paper napkins since cloth napkins can be used for hundreds of meals while paper napkins may only be used for a single meal. Purchasing paper towels and napkins made out of recycled paper, though, is still a good step toward reducing energy waste. According to the NDRC, "If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees. If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees."
Cardboard and Paperboard
Paperboard, which is used to make products such as cereal and cracker boxes, can be made from recycled paper. Cardboard can be manufactured from 100 percent recycled paper as well. If you are interested in saving energy, choose packaged products at the grocery store made from recycled paperboard and buy recycled cardboard for your boxing purposes.
Other items that can be made from recycled paper include egg cartons, newspapers, grocery bags, and other products. Recycled magazine paper may be used to construct decorative items, such as handbags, vases, and jewelry.
- Natural Resources Defense Council.org: A Shopper's Guide to Home Tissue Products
- Recycling Association of Minnesota: Recycled Products Guide
- RecycleWorks of San Mateo County: Why Buy Recycled?
- Whole Living.com: 20 Ways to Go Green
- Tree Hugger.com: Top Five Recycled Paper Products
- Obviously.com: The Consumer Recycling Guide
Emily Maggrett has been writing for more than eight years. Her fiction has appeared in "Jeopardy" and "Rivet" and her journalism has appeared in "The Cascadia Weekly" and "The Western Front." Maggrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Western Washington University.