Clothing and textiles are nearly 100 percent recyclable. More and more people are recycling their old attire, whether it’s through donation, thrift store shopping or simple curbside recycling. Eyeglasses are not considered recyclable, because they don’t become new products, but they are reusable. Several take-back programs and mail-in programs will accept your old glasses. Check with your eye doctor, because the office might have a collection program.
Composite materials are used in a wide range of applications such as automotive, aerospace and renewable energy industries. But they have not been properly recycled, due to their inherent nature of heterogeneity, in particular for the thermoset-based polymer composites. The current and future waste management and environmental legislations require all engineering materials to be properly recovered and recycled, from end-of-life (EOL) products such as automobiles, wind turbines and aircrafts. Recycling will ultimately lead to resource and energy saving. Various technologies, mostly focusing on reinforcement fibres and yet to be commercialized, have been developed: mechanical recycling, thermal recycling, and chemical recycling. However, lack of adequate markets, high recycling cost, and lower quality of the recyclates are the major commercialization barriers. To promote composites recycling, extensive R&D efforts are still needed on development of ground-breaking better recyclable composites and much more efficient separation technologies. It is believed that through the joint efforts from design, manufacturing, and end-of-life management, new separation and recycling technologies for the composite materials recycling will be available and more easily recyclable composite materials will be developed in the future.
Recycling electrical items, batteries and light bulbs
Any electrical item that’s powered by a battery or a plug is known in the recycling world as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).
- Electrical Recycling Points – take your small household electrical items to special recycling points across the city
- Recycling Batteries – what to do with household batteries
- Energy Saving Light Bulbs – information and advice on safely disposing of energy saving light bulbs
- Take Back Schemes – find your local shop offering a take back scheme
Small WEEE items include many household objects such as:
- personal care items – hairdryers, electric razors, electric toothbrushes
- DIY equipment – drills, sanders, electric screwdrivers
- gadgets – computers, MP3 players, mobile phones, headphones
- kitchen and homeware – irons, blenders, kettles, toasters
Large WEEE items include fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers. These can be reused or recycled at our recycling centres or through retailer take back schemes.
Paper recycling process
The process of paper recycling involves mixing used paper with water and chemicals to break it down. It is then chopped up and heated, which breaks it down further into strands of cellulose, a type of organic plant material; this resulting mixture is called pulp, or slurry. It is strained through screens, which remove any glue or plastic that may still be in the mixture then cleaned, de-inked, bleached, and mixed with water. Then it can be made into new recycled paper.
The share of ink in a wastepaper stock is up to about 2% of the total weight.
Rationale for recycling
Industrialized paper making has an effect on the environment both upstream (where raw materials are acquired and processed) and downstream (waste-disposal impacts).
Today, 90% of paper pulp is created from wood (in most modern mills only 9-16% of pulp is made from pulp logs; the rest comes from waste wood that was traditionally burnt). Paper production accounts for about 35% of felled trees,and represents 1.2% of the world’s total economic output. Recycling one ton of newsprint saves about 1 ton of wood while recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood. This is because kraft pulping requires twice as much wood since it removes lignin to produce higher quality fibres than mechanical pulping processes. Relating tons of paper recycled to the number of trees not cut is meaningless, since tree size varies tremendously and is the major factor in how much paper can be made from how many trees. Trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16% of world pulp production, old growth forests 9% and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the balance. Most pulp mill operators practice reforestation to ensure a continuing supply of trees. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certify paper made from trees harvested according to guidelines meant to ensure good forestry practices.It has been estimated that recycling half the world’s paper would avoid the harvesting of 20 million acres (81,000 km²) of forestland.
Recycling facts and figures
In the mid-19th century, there was an increased demand for books and writing material. Up to that time, paper manufacturers had used discarded linen rags for paper, but supply could not keep up with the increased demand. Books were bought at auctions for the purpose of recycling fiber content into new paper, at least in the United Kingdom, by the beginning of the 19th century.
Internationally, about half of all recovered paper comes from converting losses (pre-consumer recycling), such as shavings and unsold periodicals; approximately one third comes from household or post-consumer waste.
Some statistics on paper consumption:
- It is estimated that 95% of business information is still stored on paper.
- Recycling 1 short ton (0.91 t) of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7 thousand US gallons (26 m3) of water, 3 cubic yards (2.3 m3) of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil (84 US gal or 320 l), and 4,100 kilowatt-hours (15 GJ) of electricity – enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
- Although paper is traditionally identified with reading and writing, communications has now been replaced by packaging as the single largest category of paper use at 41% of all paper used.
- 115 billion sheets of paper are used annually for personal computers. The average web user prints 16 pages daily.
- Most corrugated fiberboard boxes have over 25% recycled fibers. Some are 100% recycled fiber.
- Recycling one ton of paper saves roughly 17 trees.
- In 1997, 299,044 metric tons of paper was produced (including paperboard).
- In the United States, the average consumption of paper per person in 1999 was approximately 354 kilograms. This would be the same consumption for 6 people in Asia or 30 people in Africa.
- In 2006-2007, Australia 5.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard was used with 2.5 million tonnes of this recycled.
- Newspaper manufactured in Australia has 40% recycled content