Recycled reading

OK, I’ve read the Herald, passed it along to my friends, which, by the way, really does happen. Most newspapers purchased in the U.S. are read by the primary consumer, then read again by someone else, then again by another, then... Well, let’s just call that “multi-use” or “recycled reading.”

But I digress from where this was leading. After digesting the information, what happens to the product? What becomes of the properly recycled newspaper?

Ever enjoy wine? Ever get that wine sent to you? It comes packaged in a form fitting container. The cardboard packaging is formed to fit the bottle.

This stuff is called “molded fiber.” It’s largely made up of “post-consumer use paper.” That’s recycle talk for old newspapers.

When you get that electronic equipment out of the box, it’s cushioned against damage by the same stuff. Medical supplies are shipped using the same stuff. It sort of looks like egg cartons. You don’t suppose...? Yep, made from a percentage of used newspaper fibers.

In fact, when you ship something to Europe, regulatory demands insist that you use this type of packaging material. One of the reasons for this is that as it comes from recycled elements the product itself is 100 percent recyclable. Less landfill material to deal with.

U.S. estimates seem to indicate that 40 percent of paper products are made of some amount of reclaimed fiber. What is all that stuff?

Cardboard in lots of forms is made of reused materials.

Some of the building products are made of composites that include fiber coming from recycling. Wafer board -- largely replacing plywood sheets -- might be an example.

Paper towels, toilet tissues, facial tissues, disposable diapers -- many of these items are using some amount of reclaimed paper in their products.

You can buy writing paper that has already been written on. Stuff the letter to your long lost relative in an envelope that has already been to that city long before. Many of the paper manufactures are using some amount of reclaimed fiber in the process of making “new” paper.

All of which leads back to recycling, not throwing out that newspaper!

-- Ron Buckland is the Herald’s post press department maintenance coordinator and has worked at the paper since 1976.