The Message » What is being done
The Publishers National Environment Bureau works hard to get the message of newspaper and magazine recycling to all Australians. So, just what is being done?
We distribute an extensive range of educational materials to Australian schools in every state in Australia, and provide curriculum materials for classroom discussion and learning. The publishing industry is also a very active supporter of the Newspapers in Education (NiE) initiative.
Since 1991, PNEB member organisations have donated at least $1million worth of advertising space within their publications every year to assist Commonwealth and State Governments to promote kerbside recycling. These advertisements can be found in the Media section.
Publishers also undertake their own advertising campaigns to promote the recycling of old newspapers and magazines and provide extensive community education campaigns. Most have launched global environmental and sustainability programs for their own businesses, staff and external suppliers.
PNEB has given grants and sponsorships totalling almost $6 million to assist government and business to develop systems and mechanisms for recycling old newspapers and magazines. To date, more than 100 separate projects have been supported.
One of the success stories of Australian newspaper recycling has been the volumes of newsprint diverted from landfill. In 1990, it was estimated that 367,824 tonnes was sent to landfill. In 2005, this had dropped to around 139,000 tonnes of old newspapers.
Interestingly, this compares very favourably with the results of all other wastes. The total waste stream that was sent to landfill in Australia has risen from 12.3 million tonnes in 1990 to about 22.7 million tonnes in 2003 and almost double that in 2009. Over this same period, newspapers have gone from 3.0 per cent of national landfill volumes to about 0.65 per cent. This pleasing trend has continued since 2003.
Making paper requires water, which must be disposed of after use. Australia’s publishers take every measure to cut down on water consumption used during the production of newspapers and magazines including adding recycled water to create the pulp for making newsprint.
When the water is unable to be re-used it is then treated and discharged. At Norske Skog’s Albury Mill, located on the Murray River, a $10million project was undertaken to stop the discharge of treated waste water altogether. A large storage dam was constructed and over 350 hectares of irrigated forest was planted adjacent to the Mill. The water used in the paper making process now undergoes two treatments before being used to irrigate these pine plantations.
At Norske Skog’s other plant in Boyer, Tasmania, they have worked hard to improve the quality of its treated process water, spending over $20million on a state of the art effluent treatment plant.
Similar emphasis is placed upon the reduction of energy usage in the newspaper and magazine production process, whereby de-inking old newspapers and magazines to produce pulp uses one-sixth of the energy required to produce pulp from raw wood. This substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Australian newsprint making is a good example of sustainable paper production. In Australia, trees are not cut down specifically to make newspapers. In fact, newsprint is made from mostly waste paper and waste timber. The pulp for making newsprint comes from:
The pine plantations involved are sustainably managed and regrown especially for the manufacture of sawn timber and paper products. It takes 2.5 tonnes of radiata pine materials to make one tonne of newsprint. Because the material is a by-product of timber production, it makes no sense to say that a certain number of trees are used to produce a tonne of newsprint.
No old growth eucalypt has been used in Australian newsprint manufacture since 1990.
The production process also uses environmentally friendly inks as they have no added heavy metals and contain either vegetable oils produced from crops like soya beans and canola, or non-hazardous mineral oils of very high purity. Most inks actually use a mixture of these two types of oil. Oils comprise about 50% of newspaper ink - the rest is made up of pigment, resins and solvents.
After being used on newspapers, our inks have a second life. The ink and paper fibre residue resulting from the de-inking process is dried to create a substance looking somewhat like breakfast cereal.
To save resources and reduce waste, our newspaper publishers have established waste reduction measures within their own plants to reduce the amount of newsprint used in the production of newspaper. Some of these measures include reducing the basis weight of the newsprint, increasing the size of the paper reels to reduce wastage, improved transport methods which reduced the damage to reels and monitoring of circulation trends to reduce the number of unsold copies.
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