One of the worst by-products of recycling paper comes not from the paper itself, but the inks and dyes that cover much of the paper which goes into the recycling. These inks and dies form a toxic sludge that’s left over from the paper recycling process, and which usually has to be disposed of in a landfill. On balance, recycling paper is much better for the planet than throwing it directly in the landfill – which would result in even more pollution than the recycling process. However, as for all products that can be recycled, the recycling process still has some negative environmental impact. That’s where the saying “reduce, reuse, recycle” came from. The single best way to reduce pollution is to cut back on our consumption habits and eliminate the need for using so many resources in the first place; next, if there is a way to reuse a product many times, that will keep it out of the waste stream a little longer; finally, when a product is completely used up, it’s time to recycle it.
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