Professor Christina Cogdell
March 13. 2014
The Life Cycle of a Cosmetic Package - Materials
Cosmetic packaging is one of the most well known forms of distinguishing the difference between competing brands of cosmetics. They require a combination graphics and text to develop a sense of uniformity and identification. Cosmetic packaging contains everything from the logo of the cosmetic company to the ingredients that the cosmetic contains. It is what gives the consumer their initial opinion about the product. There are various reasons as to why the graphics on the packaging is important to the consumer. Although the packaging is what catches the consumer’s attention, the work that is put into making the package itself is a longer process than its shelving life.
The cosmetic packaging box is known as folding carton. The folding carton industry is one of the largest businesses in the world. Taking in approximately $9.6 billion for production and having roughly over 300 companies, the folding carton industry is well beyond successful. (“What are Folding Cartons?” 3) The folding carton industry is worth over $75 billion dollars worldwide. It was the beginning of the packaging industry which eventually bloomed into different forms of packaging. (“Folding Carton Packaging” 1)
Its life begins with the harvesting of raw materials. The raw materials begin with gathering trees. The trees are chosen from a specified area in which they have the authority to cut down to being the process. Folding carton is made up of a material called paperboard which is a thicker and stronger substance of paper. Paperboard is made up of cellulose fibers which are made from one or a combination between three categories: hardwood, softwood, and recyclable materials. (“Paperboard” 1)
Hardwood is made up of trees such as birch. Birch and other hardwood trees are a difficult material to process due to its stubborn short fibers; however, it does cause for a sturdy and smooth finish. Softwood consists of pine and spruce trees which are made up of long fibers that are somewhat softer in density and is primarily used for lining the hardwood materials. Lastly, the recyclable materials are used from a combination of previously used paper as well as unused. The types of trees used to create the paperboard are retrieved from a "forest sector" which is a managed woodland area that must be approved to harvest the trees (“Production of Paperboard” 1).
The trees are then sent to a pulping mill which is responsible for the extraction of necessary fibers to make the paperboard. There are two different methods of pulping. The first method consists of chemical solutions that convert the wood into pulp. This method is known as chemical pulping which is similar to the second form of pulping, but allows for more strength. The chemical process uses high heat to break down the pulp into its fibers and binds it together. The second method is known as thermo mechanical pulping. This method utilizes heat to strip the bark off of the wood then mechanically grind the wood into smaller wood chips.
Paperboard is predominately made up of 80% virgin, unused fibers and the remaining 20% consist of recycled fibers or previously used paperboard (“Paperbox” 2).This specific type is called solid bleached sulfate. It is used to create the smooth, thin sheet that covers an area of the paperboard and allows for printing. This particular form is needed for the cosmetic packaging company to have their brand imprinted on the box itself. It has a layer of polyethylene on the outer sheet of the paperboard to make for the improvement of printing.
Solid bleach sulfate is a specified form of paperboard that allows the option of having a printed design on the packaging. The process of creating solid bleach sulfate requires the pulp to be bleached. The bleaching transforms the pulp into decreasing the color in order for the paper become white. Although it is not a necessary step, cosmetic packaging requires the ability to print directly onto the paperboard. The several methods include soaking the pulp into chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite. Aside from chemically bleaching the pulp, it is also possible to “bleach by delignification,” which is a technique that utilizes chlorine gas. This particular method is predominant due to its ability to interchange the chemical to oxygen in order to be less harmful to the environment (“Paperboard” 1). When it comes to bleaching recycled materials, the chemicals used to deink the material are stronger and more contaminating product. The chemical used is a combination of hydrogen peroxide and sodium dithionite. It brightens the color of the recycled material in order to wash out the remaining ink from the previously made paperboard.
Although the bleaching process allows printing onto the paperboard, the negative side effect is that the material decreases the chances of the product to be recycled again. It weakens the fibers and degrades over time. This reduces the strength of the paperboard which then results to the inability to reuse the fibers for new packaging products. (“ABC’s of folding carton” 1) The recycling process will be discussed later.
After the fibers are prepared, they are transferred from the previous mill to a paper mill where they begin the process of forming the pulp into the paperboard. Pulp is placed on a belt where they begin to separate the water and other liquids from the fibers. The liquid is removed various ways such as evaporation or a vacuum and then pressed. The machine creates a long, continuous strip of sheets which is made up of 1% solid material and the remaining 99% is water. The paper contains water to endure the remaining stages of its process on it.
After being pressed, the pulp is transferred to a machine that applies heat to harden and prep the fibers to be rolled out onto a spool to create large sheets. At this stage, the roll still contains 5% - 9% of water. Paperboard is made in bulk rather than individually. (“The Production of Paperboard” 1) This means that the large rolls permits the company to create more of the packaging and utilize as much of the material that can be used with also the fraction of the time it takes to make one at a time.
The next step after being rolled up into large spools is the distribution to a separate industry that handles the printing. The paperboard is then printed on with previously designed graphics then is sent to be creased and folded to create the form of the cosmetic box. The manufacturers use a machine to feed in the large sheets and begin the cutting and scoring process. Cutting the paperboard into a specified form is in the same sense of using a cookie cutter. The machine has a set input to automatically cut the paperboard into its desired size. When the paperboard is inserted into the machine, it flattens the sheet and makes its way to the cutting station.
When the cutting process is completed, it is then sent to the creasing station. This area scores the paper. The scoring is necessary in order for the folding process to not cause cracks into its body. It allows for a clean fold while forming the box. After the cutting and creasing process, the remaining step is to then remove the excess paperboard to prepare for distribution. (“How Folding Carton is Made” 10)
The distribution and transportation process allows for the companies to receive their shipment. There was not any available information that touches on is particular portion of the subject; however, the assumption could be that the form of transportation is by delivery trucks. There are over 400 packaging plants in the United States, therefore the delivery distribution process should be convenient. (“What are Folding Cartons?” 5)
Soon after the cosmetic packaging has gone through the process of pulping, printing, and cutting, the completed products are stored into packaging boxes to be transported to the brand owner's headquarters. To make for efficient storage, the packaging is not yet formed and stored flat to increase the amount that can fit into the box that is being delivered. Cosmetic companies then receive the stock and handle the forming of the box and the gluing themselves. After the folding carton is made into a box, they fill the packages with their products. From there, they arranging their products and are sent to be distributed and sold.
Although there is much time and effort as well as material put into the process of making one packaging item, the use of it does not last very long. On average, the cosmetic industry creates 120.8 billion units of packaging. (England 1) The life of a cosmetic package is limited. Its life only consists of the amount of time it takes to be distributed, shelved, purchased, and taken home. The average woman uses between 10 - 15 cosmetic items everyday and the average man uses roughly 6. Cosmetic products take up to 3 million tons of our landfills and waterways every year (Hunt 1). This means that a majority of the time, cosmetic packaging is not carefully recycled and put into an area where it can be reused again. The idea of the creation of the packaging item consuming more time and energy than it does after it is purchased should be the reason why packaging companies should start practicing sustainable design.
Often times, if the packaging is sturdy enough or the design is aesthetically pleasing, the consumer will keep it. From personal experience, if I notice that the cosmetic packaging has quality work put into making that one piece of folding carton, I have the tendency to find alternative ways to reuse it. They can reuse the box and store other items or they also have the option to upcycle it. It is not uncommon to take a piece of packaging and utilize the material for other reasons. However, there are instances where the packaging is not in well enough shape to be kept or reused. In this case, it has the option to be recycled.
Paperboard has the ability to break down and can be reused to make new paperboard products. According to The Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC), the paperboard industry, in general, operate on a closed loop recycling system. Usually, the remaining paperboard sheets are transferred to a recycling mill to utilize the fibers that were already made. Because cosmetic packaging paperboard is primarily made from virgin fibers, it is easier to break down its components to be reused.
Before recycling the paperboard, the material must go through a series of steps in order for it to be used again. Firstly, the used cosmetic packages must go through a process of being stripped from its ink. It is first is soaked in water and then washed various times with a series of soaps-like chemicals to de-ink the paperboard. (“Paper Manufacturing” 1) Then it goes through the same process as virgin fibers do when they are being formed.
Paperboard can be recycled several times; however, each time it is recycled it is still contaminated from the process before. This does not mean that it is incapable of being used again; it is merely a sign of its life degrading. When the material is recycled, the fibers lose its strength and the stiffness deteriorates. This eventually causes the fibers to become useless and then is either thrown into the landfill or becomes incinerated.
Waste management is one of the many things that should be focused on when it comes to recyclable materials. The answer to irresponsible disposal is to manage it. Several cosmetic companies have the opportunity to receive rewards when collecting a certain amount of packaging. They send the recyclable packaging to recycling mills and reward the consumer with a new product from their company; however, the most ideal way to manage the amount of waste that paperboard is to utilize sustainable features that keeps away from using harmful chemicals in the production process as well as the printing process. Another alternative is to avoid contaminating the paperboard with the product or anything else that can prevent it from being reused. The cleaner the packaging is, the more efficient it is to continue to recycle the same material to make new ones. (“What Can I Recycle” 1) These are a few of the many options given to the consumer in order to continue sustainability.
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Energy Used Throughout the Manufacturing of a Cosmetic Folding Carton
Producing a cosmetic folding carton takes a lot of energy not in just the beginning stages from the harvesting of raw materials, but there is a lot of energy that comes from the production that is the manufacturing. In the creation of paperboard to make cosmetic folding cartons, these paperboard mills use almost as much energy as a regular paper mill. The paper industry uses energy intensive manufacturing to produce these paper products. The energy differs along different sectors in paper and paperboard mills, as well as pulping mills too. Now, to create the cosmetic folding carton there needs to be paperboard. The manufacturing of paperboard goes through many different energy concentrated processes. For instance, throughout the life cycle of a cosmetic folding carton energy is used from the gathering and harvesting of the raw material of wood to the disposal of waste that comes from these short lived cosmetic folding cartons.
When it comes to harvesting the raw materials for these cosmetic folding cartons, the materials come from forest logging. The energy used to gather these logs start with the manpower that drive the fossil fuel burning gas trucks to haul the logs away. But before the logs are hauled away they must first be cut down, to cut down these logs there are large chainsaws that use gas and manpower to cut down these trees into logs. Another source of energy used in the harvesting of raw material is the electricity and gas used in a crane to pick theses large, heavy logs and stack them onto a truck to be carried away. The crane uses electricity to operate the crane and all the gears inside, but also gas so that the crane can move like a truck to power the engine that is inside the base of the crane. There is also manpower that comes into play in the raw material harvesting because the manpower that is used is the people who are controlling the chainsaws, the cranes, and drive to deliver the raw materials to the processing plants that they need to go. Now, once the logs have been harvested it is time for them to take a journey to the pulping mill.
At the pulping mill, the wood logs will be turned into wood fiber pulp that later on through further processing will become paperboard products as well as regular paper products. This is where well-oiled machines that use electricity and water will come into play in the productions process of cosmetic folding cartons, because the wood logs will be taken in and the bark will be removed and the wood will become wood chips. The bark that has been removed from the trees are burned as fuel to keep the boilers going, which is reported by the U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry. The pulping process is very chemical related because in order to break down the wood into pulp it needs to be broken down. In the 2005 U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry energy profile, there are four classifications of the pulping process, but to make paperboard it comes from the recycled pulping process. What is reported by the U.S Paper and Pulp Industry is that the description of the recycled pulping process is:
Pulping by mechanical energy with chemicals and heat added for recycled
Paper with higher wet strength. Pulp properties included are a mixture of
fiber grades. Properties depend on the characteristics of recycled fiber stock.
Products produced include paperboard. (2005 U.S Paper and Pulp Industry)
The U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry talks about the recycled pulping process as seen as another type of mechanical pulping. During this process, recycled paper is re-hydrated to become a mixture to be stirred up and broken down back into pulp. Since paperboard is made from recycled paper, some of these papers may have ink on them. In which, the mixture of re-hydrated recycled paper has to go through a chemical to take out the ink which are called surfactants that removes the ink from the fiber. The pulp then continues to wash and sometimes bleaching occurs to further clean the recycled paper from any glues or other contaminants that may be lingering in the recycled paper.
Now after the pulping process, the pulp is transported by truckloads to the paper mill where it will be transformed from pulp into paper products and most importantly paperboard. During the papermaking process, the energy that is used is steam, electricity, and fuel. So, as the pulp goes through this process, it starts with what is called “refining.” Refining defined by the U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry, is crucial to papermaking because the pulp fibers are beaten mechanically, so that the properties for the product it will be making can be accomplished. It also passes through another machine in which, it cuts and unclutters the fibers to help the fibers bond with each other better. Papermaking has been accounted for nearly half of the energy use of the paper industry as reported by the U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry. The energy consumption used in the paper industry is measured in million btu (british thermal unit) per ton of finished paper.
In 2005 the U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry made an energy consumption profile compiled of information pertaining to that industry, the average amount of energy that is used just for papermaking was 6.26 10^6 btu/ton. The U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry also gave a total papermaking energy use per year which came out to 554 10^12 btu and this is based on the annual paper production of 88.4 million tons of paper and paperboard. The main sources of energy that is used during the papermaking process comes from three types of energy, which are steam, electricity, and fuel. The form of energy that is used the most throughout the papermaking process is electricity since everything is done through mechanized processing. The second most used form of energy is steam because the pulp and the refinement of the pulp into paper use a lot of water and steam. The last source of energy that is least used throughout the papermaking process is fuel. But, that is only a small part of paperboard production because there is more than one type of fuel used in production of paperboard. The biggest fuel used is natural gas, then byproducts, then electricity, then coal, and then the least fuel that is used is fuel oil, which is what the U.S Paper and Pulp Industry show in a pie chart of fuel distribution. But, there is also fuel that runs the different boilers and the fuels that are used for those are oil, gas, coal, bark, and black liquor. Oil has the highest percentage given by the U.S. Paper and Pulp Industry that is used to run the boilers.
There is so much energy that goes into the production of making paperboard and the process is not yet finished.
To get the paperboard ready to be made into boxes it has to leave the papermaking mill and go to a packaging group where they will score the paperboard to create the shape that it will be formed into, but also where it will be wrapped and ready to go to companies who will put their labels on the scored paperboard. A common industry that uses a lot of paperboard is the cosmetic industry where they use these scored sheets of paperboard to create cosmetic folding cartons for all types of cosmetic products.
Some other facts that come from the energy used in the production of paperboard for cosmetic folding cartons is since paperboard comes from recycled paper, it takes “sixty percent less energy than manufacturing virgin timber paper”, which comes from the American Forest and Paper Association in November 1996. The American Forest and Paper Association also mentioned that, “paper manufacturing is the third largest user of fossil fuels worldwide”, that was in 2002. It is also stated that, “paper manufacturing is the largest industrial user of water per pound of finished product,” said by the American Forest and Paper Association. A source from Environment Canada stated, “approx. 324L. of water is used to produce 1 KG of paper.”
Throughout the different stages to produce paperboard there have been many different phases of energy used in each of the different processes. The creation of the cosmetic folding carton for the use of the cosmetic industry uses a lot of energy to produce such a small product that doesn’t really have a long shelf life. Learning about the energy intensive manufacturing process that creates these paperboard products seems very intense and the different types of energy used and the length that each process goes through is very mind blowing. Hopefully, there can be a more energy efficient way to produce these paper products, so that the paper industry does not keep up such high energy usage.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE OF THE U.S. PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY. 2005. [e-book] http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/resources/forest/pdfs/pulppaper_profile.pdf [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
Facts about Paper and Paper Waste. n.d. [e-book] pp. 1-3. www.id2.ca/downloads/eco-design-paper-facts.pdf [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
Forest and Paper Industry. n.d. [e-book] individual.utoronto.ca/abdel_rahman/paper/fpmp [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN MACHINE & PAPERBOARD MATERIAL. n.d. [e-book] Oystar Jones. leadwise.mediadroit.com/files/8548Marriage_MachinePaperboard.pdf [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
Waste and Emissions from Cosmetic Folding Cartons
Cosmetic folding cartons, boxes used to package almost all cosmetic products, are items worth exploring because of how commonly it is used in the cosmetic world. The life cycle of folding cartons is a detailed but crucial process to know about. This is because folding cartons are mainly made of paperboard, which is a type of paper—and paper is a very important resource used everywhere on a global scale. Paper is such a widely used commodity that there is currently no other product that can successfully replace it.
This paper focuses on the waste and emissions aspect of the cosmetic folding carton life cycle. The process of making folding cartons causes several kinds of environmental impacts such as water pollution, air pollution, and landfill waste. Although the life cycle of folding cartons is a process that inevitably creates wastes and emissions, the overwhelming amount of wastes and emissions that result from the production and usage of folding cartons is a continuous problem.
The main and most obvious raw material of paperboard is paper—and paper creates many kinds of wastes and emissions. The pulp and paper industry is the nation’s third largest consumer of energy, emitting fifty-seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2004 (Schlossberg). For solid wastes, the pulp and paper industry generates more than twelve million tons of waste per year, with the waste primarily consisting of de-watered sludge (Miller, Justiniano, and McQueen 8). In the past, standard waste treatment involved bringing the waste to landfills, but nowadays, alternatives such as incineration, conversion to useful products, and land application are used (Miller, Justiniano, and McQueen 8). However, these are not all necessarily positive alternatives. Incineration for example, has serious negative effects on the environment. It poisons our environment, bodies, and food supply with toxic chemicals, it produces toxic ash or slag that ends up in the landfill, it undermines waste prevention and recycling because incinerators feed a system in which a constant flow of resources need to be “pulled out of the Earth, processed in factories, shipped around the world, and burned in our communities”, and it hides the evidence of dirty and unsustainable industries (“Incinerators”). For water pollution, the pulp and papermaking processes consume a large amount of water that generates wastewater containing “chlorinated compounds, volatile organics, sulfur compounds, and other chemicals” (Miller, Justiniano, and McQueen 8). For air pollutants, U.S. pulp and paper mills release approximately 245,000 metric tons each year, including hazardous air pollutants, volatile organic compounds, and total reduced sulfur compounds (Miller, Justiniano, and McQueen 10). One specific example can be examined—International Paper’s Ticonderoga Mill—which in 2012 emitted the following: 2,373,928 pounds per year of sulfur dioxide and 1,514,021 pounds per year of nitrogen oxides—both threats to the respiratory system; 730,631 pounds per year of carbon monoxide—which can cause heart attacks; 530,726 pounds per year of carcinogenic Volatile Organic Compounds; 253,703 pounds per year of asthma-causing Particulate Matter 2.5 and 391,453 pounds per year of Particulate Matter 10; 47,672 pounds per year of ammonia; 2,414 tons per year of chloroform; 1,468 pounds per year of chlorine; 541 pounds per year of lead; and dozens of other toxic air pollutants (Schlossberg). Through the acquisition of raw materials for folding cartons, serious environmental impacts occur.
The manufacturing, processing, and formulation of paperboard, include bleaching and coating, which causes setbacks in the environment. Although bleaching increases the aesthetics of paper by making it more white, the process of bleaching is a major water pollutant. Bleaching creates the presence of a chemical called Adsorable Organic Halides (AOX) which is a concern because they are persistent, carcinogenic, bio-accumulative, and have an adverse effect on the flora and fauna in the aquatic system (Ranganathan, Jeyapaul, and Sharma 363). Furthermore, elemental chlorine is the bleaching agent used which causes toxic compounds such as dioxins—detrimental to both the environment and humans. Dioxins are also very persistent and last in the environment for a long time. When dioxins disperse, they eventually settle onto surface water and vegetation. As a result, terrestrial and aquatic animals consume dioxins that are difficult for the body to break down. Therefore, the dioxins become planted in the animals and they become further concentrated through meat eating animals and plant eating animals—a process known as bio-magnification (“Facts about Dioxins”). More specifically, dioxins affect the metabolism and reproductive performance of aquatic animals such as fish (Hewitt, Mark, Parrott, and McMaster 353). For humans, dioxins are found to be linked with cancer and abnormal reproductive and endocrine system effects (Kogevinas 336). Next is coating. Even though coating provides many benefits for paperboard, it also has negative effects on the environment. One of the main raw materials of the plastic coating is called polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is so common that in 2011 alone, 280 million metric tons of it was produced (Maier). Unfortunately, PE does not biodegrade easily and so it can sit in a landfill for hundreds of years, resulting in massive amounts of solid waste. Furthermore, twenty to twenty-four percent of landfill space in the US is taken up by plastics, including PE products (Maier). Bleaching and coating paperboard is an environmental issue that can negatively affect humans and animals.
There are obvious emissions that come from the distribution and transportation of paper. Although I failed to find exact quantities of emissions produced from lumber yards to paperboard mills and from paperboard mills to buyers, it is safe to assume that emissions from different modes of transportation such as trucks would be present. Most paper is sold through paper merchants who provide paper in specific geographic locations, meaning paper transportation most likely occurs locally ("Paper Industry: Distribution”). Distributors usually discourage small sales of paper by requiring a minimum purchase, further confirming the assumption that paper is probably transported by heavy duty vehicles ("Paper Industry: Distribution”). Heavy duty vehicles emit harmful air pollutants such as unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (PM) ("Environmental Fact Sheet”). According to the EPA, heavy duty vehicles contributed to thirty-six percent of PM, thirty percent of NOx, and twenty-six percent of SOx, even though they only comprise two percent of the total number of vehicles on the roadways. In addition, diesel emissions also contain black carbon which is a “major contributor to climate change” ("Environmental Fact Sheet”). Trucks—and almost all modes of transportation—are run on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are America’s primary source of energy, accounting for eighty-five percent of the current US fuel use ("The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). The impacts of fossil fuel on the environment include global warming, air quality deterioration, water and land pollution, oil spills, acid rain, and thermal pollution ("The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). The massive amount of fossil fuels that we have been burning has caused a twenty five percent increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which leads to the planet becoming warmer. This in turn will cause rising sea-levels, excessive glacier melting, extreme weather events, and an increase in the frequency of droughts in inland agricultural zones ("The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). In terms of thermal pollution, because the electricity-generation process is inefficient, much of the heat ends up being released into the atmosphere or water, and heated water upsets the aquatic ecosystem ("The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). Based on these evidences, the transportation and distribution of paper inflicts serious harm when comes to the environment.
One of the main reuses of paperboard is recycling. Although the idea of recycling is nice because it attempts to promote environmental friendliness, there are actually many environmental impacts that occur because of the recycling process. A key issue is that process waste paper for paperboard manufacturing requires energy usually from fossil fuels (Bystroem and Loennstedt 110). Recycling produces a lot of air pollutants from the exhaust of recycling trucks and the energy used at recycling plants. Also, recycled paper consisting of paper fibers, inks, cleaning chemicals, and dyes are filtered out into a paper sludge that is burned or sent to a landfill (Handley). Of course, emissions also come from the vehicles that drive around the cities collecting recyclables. Although actions such as all-in-one recycling are implemented to require fewer trucks (probably in an attempt to reduce air pollutants), this action ends up requiring extra sorting in which new equipment is needed and so the pollution just gets transferred over to the factories that have to build the equipment (Handley). However, we have to acknowledge that in comparison to virgin paper, recycled paper is overall more beneficial. Producing recycled paper requires twenty-eight to seventy percent less energy than virgin paper and also uses less water (Kinsella 2). In addition, recycled paper produces fewer polluting emissions to air and water and the re-bleaching process (if needed) uses oxygen instead of chlorine, leading to a reduced amount of chlorinated compounds in the environment compared to the production of virgin paper (Kinsella 8). The reuse of fibers in paper is beneficial, but it is not the perfect solution as the energy spent in transportation and remanufacture still causes pollution.
In the process of waste management of paperboard, there are three main choices: recycling, incineration, and landfill. Landfill is the least preferable option and there are pros and cons to recycling and incineration. Recycling results in lower total energy cost but has a greater fossil fuel usage while incineration can get energy without much transportation, but it is less inefficient in some ways compared to recycling and also produces massive air emissions (Seltenrich). In 2008, 34 million tons of paper, accounting for the biggest portion (thirty-one percent) of municipal solid waste, was thrown away because it was unrecoverable; only nineteen percent of the paper consumed in the United States was recovered and exported even though twenty-eight percent of it was landfilled and potentially recoverable (“What Goes Into the Landfill?”). Any paper that can be recovered but is not has high economic and environmental costs (“What Goes Into the Landfill?”). For recycling, about forty-four million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2012—a recycling rate of about sixty-five percent (“Frequent Questions”). Between the three methods of waste management, recycling and incineration are debatable but currently used processes.
The production of paper and paperboard to create folding cartons for cosmetic packaging is a major contributor to environmental issues such as the continuing growth of landfill wastes and pollutants spread through water and air. Due to these problems, mills are implementing technologies that reduce process water requirements and regulate that effluents released into waterways by ensuring that they meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines (Available and Emerging Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Industry 1). In addition, there are Federal regulations such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Cluster Rules to control the pulp and paper industry (Miller, Justiniano, and McQueen 9).This points out that there are definitive measures in work attempting to solve these problems, but the extent to how these solutions actually fix the problem is questionable. Another important point to consider is the process of recycling. Besides the fact that the idea itself is excellent and encourages people to be more aware of their environment, people should also be aware and knowledgeable of the recycling process and the pollution it creates. The lesson that recycling teaches us should also spark our curiosity for knowledge about other “environmentally-friendly” solutions and their processes. Although paper is a necessity and global commodity, it creates a lot of damage to the environment, which translates to eventual harm among humans as well. At this point, continuous development of original and new ideas to tackle this worldwide problem is favorable.
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