AP Language, Period 5
26 March 2013
Environmental awareness has been a deep concern and arising issue that has crept up slowly due to mass industrialization. Americans have become the number one consumers of paper (TheDailyGreen) consequently causing a significant increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and destruction of forests and habitats throughout the world. In order to cope with this environmental destruction caused by tree paper production, we must be able to adjust to another source of paper . At Los Alamitos High School and in our school district, we consume a substantial amounts of paper because it is essential to handouts, tests, lab packets, etc. This is insignificant compared to the world population, but it is a start towards a much more cleaner and friendly environment. To counterbalance this pollution and ecological damage, the Los Alamitos school district could convert into a more environmentally and economically viable solution known as sugar cane paper. This sugar cane paper is made from “bagasse,” otherwise known as sugar cane waste which is safer and cheaper to produce. A substitution for the environmentally hostile tree paper can go a long way.
Paper production has been significant since the birth of our great nation dating back to 1640 in Philadelphia (Conservatree). Tree destruction has been a large environmental issue that has been increasing gradually as paper consumption has risen. Although, we have been making progress through the use of recycling; it is not enough due to increased paper demands. The use of wood pulp as a source for paper has dated back to the 19th century. Since then, our people have been able to significantly deplete the seemingly “endless” supply of trees. Recycling is one way to reduce the pollution from paper waste but is not enough to make a big impact since most copy and office papers are made from virgin tree sources. Methods to reduce waste use toxic methods such as incinerators which makes it more difficult to hinder down the waste accumulation after landfills are piling up (Conservatree).
Eventually, this paper waste epidemic will catch up to future generations. Municipal waste generally consists of paper waste (40%), and according to research, U.S. municipal waste has increased in millions of tons each year (Conservatree). In the past, recycling has only reached up to 25%, which is not enough to make up for the costful amount of tax dollars used to operate landfills and incinerators. In reality, the energy required to power incinerators is more than the expected output (Conservatree). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sought to lower municipal waste by increasing the recycling output. However, recycling will only lower the municipal waste by a small amount compared to the whole. Some papers used to print newspaper make it even more difficult to recycle due to a lack of fibers that are destroyed after the recycling process (Conservatree). Overall, as more paper is being manufactured each year, the necessity to recycle increases too. Today, due to a larger demand of paper production more than ever, the need to find alternate and eco-friendly sources, such as sugar cane paper, is vital towards a better future. In the past years, paper has still accounted for a majority of the municipal waste. The whole process of paper production harm the environment, nitrogen oxide is produced as a byproduct in paper mills which is hazardous and add to a ground level ozone layer that is dangerous when it is not in the Earth’s atmosphere . Not only does this production harm the atmosphere, it can also be an effluent resulting in water waste and consequently harming marine life through the formulation of “bioaccumulative toxins” (ERI). After paper is produced and finalized, transportation of these products also damage the environment. The movement from pulp mills to paper manufacturers to paper...
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