Recycled Paper Manufacturing: Waste Collection & Problems

11th November 2022

The state of the waste collection, segregation, recycling and processing infrastructure in India is dismal. The main sources of waste paper are printing companies, publishing houses, paper converters, offices and households. But most of the waste being produced isn’t segregated or is poorly segregated, which results in the dependence on manual labour when recycling waste paper.

Inefficient Waste Collection & Segregation System

Due to the waste collection system being disorganised, a majority of the waste being produced in India makes its way to landfills or gets incinerated, instead of being processed and recycled.

Did you know that India imports over US$ 1 Billion worth of waste paper every year, and only processes 20% of its own waste paper? Due to the lack of efficiency in processing the waste generated in the country, Indian paper mills and recycling plants have to rely heavily on imported paper waste, mostly from the US and Europe.

The Existing Waste Paper Collection System

Most of the waste paper that gets recycled is usually collected by rag-pickers and then makes its way up the informal supply chain through hawkers, middle-lever traders and finally reaches the recycling plants.

While household segregation of waste is being increasingly implemented in major cities, the inefficiency of the implementation and slow adoption has meant that an industry of rag-pickers has to go through waste manually in terribly unhygienic conditions.

To add to this, the lack of strong policy formulation and implementation, lack of collection centres and other infrastructure, lack of incentives and regulations - all compound the complexity of the problem.

The Need Of The Hour

The shocking truth is that more than 15 Billion trees are cut down every year globally. While paper is just one of the causes of deforestation, there’s no denying the huge impact that even a small increase in the recycling efficiency can have in saving trees and the environment.

An average tree, that has taken years or decades to grow fully, produces around 8,333 sheets of paper. To provide some further context, 250 - 300 sheets of paper weigh 1 Kg, and the Indian recycling industry requires more than 15 million tonnes of waste paper as raw material.

Collective Social Responsibility

The equation is quite apparent - we need to make drastic changes and improvements to the current waste collection & recycling system in place, across municipalities. As with everything else, it comes down to us as citizens to drive change - from segregating waste properly in our homes and businesses to spreading awareness and effecting policy change and implementation.

At Rescript, we are committed to making the world a better place by providing consumers with sustainable, environmentally-friendly products. Join us on our mission to save 30,000 trees and 6 Crore litres of water by 2025 through recycled paper!

Make the switch to recycled paper, notebooks and stationery here!

Check out our next blog post to find out how the collected paper waste is processed!


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