Every person needs to stay updated with the latest happenings and information spreading around. From a business person to a student, a doctor to an armed officer, a government servant to a private employee, every individual must gather information about their relevant field to prepare themself for a better future.
Even though you can find multiple ways to catch up with necessary details, none could be as reliable and efficient as a newspaper. They have been the major source of news and communication for decades and have never gone wrong in their duties. However, their disposal’s impact is drawing attention from environmentalists worldwide. Yes, their waste brings negative effects to the atmosphere, and asks for timely actions before things go out of control (Rinkesh, 2019).
This content will throw light on this topic with some valuable details that can positively affect how people use and dispose of a newspaper every day.
Are Newspapers Recyclable or Not?
Don’t wander here and there- the answer lies in the question. Since papers are the primary raw material, newspapers can be easily recycled. The only non-recyclable paper contains plastic coating or contaminants- chemicals, body fluid (like blood), food, coffee, grease, or oil- that will keep it safe from recycling.
During the recycling process, newspapers are converted into new materials. Here, you have to make sure that this new material doesn’t get in contact with any contaminant. The reason behind this is when this contaminated material is reused to produce a newspaper, it will give rise to multiple illnesses or problems. For instance, if newspapers are made with contaminated materials, the end result will be a big health risk to the public.
Experts recommend disposing of such contaminated newspapers or materials before they spread problems to others.
Are Newspapers a Hazard to the Environment?
The discussion to evaluate a product’s effects on the environment is incomplete until it involves the possibility of it breaking down naturally. The conclusion should also mention the degree of the potential harm it could cause after use.
Newspapers are biodegradable and work as the carbon source for the compost pile. Just be sure not to put many bundles over each other because they may not get enough oxygen to turn into brown, rich compost.
On average, a paper takes up to 10 weeks to start biodegrading based on the thickness and quality of the paper. However, some newspapers take more time than usual to decompose because of their high lignin composition. It is a chemical found in plants cell walls that is capable of slowing down newspapers’ decomposition (Earth911, 2018).
What Is the Impact of Newspapers on the Environment?
The conclusion on the changes brought by newspapers to the environment will uncover many other aspects like the printing frequency, disposal, and decomposition based on paper thickness.
Scientifically, it has been proven that, after a certain life, newspapers can give rise to many environmental as well as health problems. For instance, some are coated with toxic chemicals that can pose direct and indirect changes to the surroundings.
As soon as you throw them for disposal, their ink starts to eliminate nutrients from the soil, eventually stunting the plants’ growth. Afterward, when absorbed, it contaminates and pollutes groundwater. In case of rain, the ink flows with the flood to waterways, causing danger to aquatic animals.
What Are the Right Recycling Methods?
When it comes to recycling newspapers, there are multiple methods to get rid of their adverse effects. Some of the reliable methods are:
The government provides municipal recycling services for garbage and other items. You won’t find any difference in recycling methods for newspapers because they have a prescribed criterion of how to get rid of paper waste. Please don’t put all recyclables in one bin, as they have dedicated bins for plastics and paper. Call the local sanitation and streets department to ask for their recycling requirements.
On the contrary, if your local government doesn’t pick up the waste, you can bring it to their plant yourself and ask for recycling.
As mentioned above, newspapers can biodegrade themselves faster; is it wise to consider them compostable as well?
Precisely, newspapers are compostable, but not all are the same. The difference lies in compost instead of paper’s ability to dispose of. Newspaper producers use inks to write content on them, making it difficult to recycle or decompose them.
Composting refers to the process of accumulating organic materials and letting them decompose with time. You can either choose a box, free-standing pile, or bin for composting as you like. Go for a box or bin to contain newspaper composting, or do a free-standing pile in a large yard.
Upcycle and Reuse Newspapers
There are many ways to reuse or upcycle old newspapers. You just have to figure out which option you would want and why (McClure, 2019):
- Gift Wraps: Don’t spend extra money on fancy gift wraps when you have old newspapers. All you need is creative wrapping ideas, and an ordinary newspaper will look amazing on your gift.
- Use for Shipping Goods: Newspapers are soft and easy to crumple, so they are recommended to cover shipments to keep them safe from breaking down. Avoid packing peanuts or bubble wraps because of their ability to keep items, particularly those made of glass, safe from breaking down during shipments.
- Cleaning Windows and Other Glass Areas: Newspapers have proved to be a good tool for cleaning. Use your palm to hold the newspaper and wipe it with a cleaner.
- Smother Weeds: Use many newspapers to treat a weed-infested area in your garden. Cover it with newspapers, wait until the newspaper decomposes over the weeds, and work on the soil to kill them.
Newspapers are one of the trustworthy sources of information that keep the entire world updated. You can find any detail you want with authenticity and reliability. However, it takes a lot of effort to keep the atmosphere safe from their serious effects.
Earth911. (2018). How to Recycle Newspaper. Retrieved from Earth911: https://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-newspaper/
McClure, E. (2019, December 19). How to Recycle Newspaper. Retrieved from WikiHow: https://www.wikihow.life/Recycle-Newspaper
Rinkesh. (2019). Can You Recycle Newspaper? (And Are They Biodegradable?). Retrieved from Conserve Energy Future: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/can-you-recycle-newspaper.php