Can paper with tape be recycled? (5 raw materials of tape)

In this article, the recycling of paper with tape on it will be analysed. Other covered topics will be: 

  • What paper and tape are made from?
  • How is paper made?
  • What is the environmental impact of paper with tape on it?
  • What is recycling?
  • Can paper with tape on it be recycled?
  • FAQs

Can paper with tape be recycled?

Paper with tape on it can be recycled only if the paper tape is used. Paper can be recycled may include newspapers, office paper, cardboard, magazines et cetera. However, only paper tape can be recycled while plastic tape has to be disposed of. 

Recycling is an amazing process of reusing waste by modifying it. Thus, there is no need to build materials from scratch. 

This leads to better waste management and better resource management. Recycling also ensures decreased consumption of non-renewable energy.

How paper and tape are made? (5 raw materials of tape)

This section of the article will deal with the process and the material used to make paper and tape. This will enable us to build a stance on the recycling of paper with tape on it. 

Paper is made from wood pulp. Wood pulp is obtained from trees. Therefore, it can be assumed that paper is made from trees. 

The production of paper is only from plant sources. There are various chemicals that play an important role in the papermaking process. Proper insights into this aspect will be detailed in the coming sections of the article. 

Common examples of chemicals used in the paper-making process include ammonium sulphide and ammonium chloride. These chemicals are important in separating lignin and bark from cellulose, which improves the paper’s quality. 

Bleach may also be used to obtain the whiteness of the paper. If bleach is not used, we will get brown paper which is also regarded as kraft paper. 

When it comes to tape, it may be made from the following raw materials: 

  • Foams
  • Rubber
  • Films
  • Liners
  • Plastics such as Polyvinyl Chloride and Polypropylene 

Most of these materials are made from products derived from fossil fuels and therefore, it is argued that there will be detrimental impacts of tape on the environment. 

How is paper made?

Paper is made from paper pulp. Plant-based materials are involved in the making of paper. Therefore, paper is regarded to have minimal impact on the environment and life, in general. 

The sources from where raw materials to make paper may be taken include birch, eucalyptus, aspen, pine, or larch. 

The making of paper is made in consideration of various considerations. For example, the wood pulp may contain bark and lignin. 

The making of paper is done by the successful removal of bark and lignin, because otherwise the functional uses of paper may not be achieved. 

This is done at the expense of various chemicals like sodium sulphide and sodium hydroxide. These chemicals separate the wood pulp from unwanted materials involving bark and lignin. 

However, it may be stated that brown paper has higher amounts of lignin as compared to normal white paper because it is stronger and more durable.

The bark removal may also be done at the expense of mechanical force by machinery. However, this will be done at the expense of the emission of GHGs.

The paper produced after the mechanical removal of bark is termed groundwood paper while the product achieved after the chemical removal is called black liquor. While the former depends on force, the latter depends on temperature and chemicals. 

There are usually 3-4 steps that are adopted mechanically for the paper-making process. These processes may be: 

  • Wet end
  • Wet press section 
  • Dryer section 
  • Calendar section 

All these steps are essential in achieving the final product which is paper. Paper has massive applications in all sectors and aspects related to life and therefore, to meet these needs, great amounts of paper are made daily. 

However, the purpose of the article is to ensure that the paper and tape impacts and relation with the environment be better understood to let consumers and readers make better and sustainable choices which would not only help us build a safer present but also a promised future. 

What is the environmental impact of paper with tape on it?

It is usually perceived that products and materials made from natural sources will have no impact on the environment. However, this statement is quite distant from the actual reality. 

The primary reason is that every consumer product will have some impact on the environment. Consumer products are made from raw materials at the expense of energy and leaving behind waste. All these factors impact our environment. 

Paper is made from trees and this means that there will be cutting of trees. It is already suggested that human activities have resulted in a 50% decreased tree count. 

Trees are essential entities that save us from environmental anomalies and play their part in the sustainability and maintaining the greenness of the environment.

If there will be excessive tree cutting, there will be negative impacts on the environment including soil erosion, destruction of habitats, and disruption of ecosystems. Trees are the primary producers. They are the starting points of food webs and food chains. 

If trees are cut in grave amounts, there will be effects reciprocated at various levels of food chains. 

The production of paper also is energy and water consumptive. This leads to the emissions of GHGs which may cause global warming and other environment-related anomalies. The various impact and effects caused by global warming can be summarised in the following points: 

  • Rising sea levels
  • Soil erosion
  • Deforestation
  • Disruption of ecosystems 
  • Pollution
  • Psychological impacts
  • Ozone depletion 
  • Skin & eyes diseases 

Therefore, it is incumbent that paper manufacture is made in line with concepts of sustainability by cutting trees from controlled environments and making use of renewable resources rather than non-renewable resources.

While these are impacts rendered by the paper on the environment, the impacts of tape are even worse and more intimidating. 

Tape is made from materials derived from fossil fuels. This leads to the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. These gases result in increased global temperatures that lead to several other environmental anomalies as well. 

Most of the materials that are derived from fossil fuels are considered non-biodegradable. Such material may persist for hundreds of years causing an impact on the environment and also on the waste management systems. 

What is recycling?

Recycling can be explained as a process in which old materials are altered in a way so that they may be used again as new materials. It is a very important process to ensure that there is less waste generation and accumulation. 

The applications and processes of recycling are also important because the current waste generation has already crossed the given threshold. 

The current waste generation is expected to be around 2 billion tons which may also rise up to more than 3 billion tons in just a few decades. 

If those figures are translated at an individual level, then it can be said that an average person is responsible for the generation of more than 5 kgs of waste per day.

These staggering figures reveal why there is an increased need for us to recycle because it is one of the best ways to ensure that waste generation is not passing the supposed threshold. 

You may also wonder whether all materials are recyclable. Whether all materials are recyclable or not? The answer is no. Not all materials are recyclable, however, most consumer products can be recycled. 

Some of the common materials which can be recycled include:

  • Paper
  • Plastic 
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • Batteries 
  • Electronics

Some of the basic advantages of recycling include: 

  • Energy conservation
  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Better waste management 
  • Employment prospects
  • Reduction of waste
  • Reduction of pollution 

Can paper with tape be recycled?

This section will serve as the concluding segment. Based on the details given off until now, it can be said that paper with tape can be recycled. 

Recycling is considered one of the best options to deal with waste be it biodegradable or non-biodegradable. 

Paper with tape can be recycled to ensure that there is better waste and resource management because in this way the products would not have to be made from scratch. 

The various kinds of paper that can be recycled include office paper, newspaper, cardboard, magazines et cetera. 

However, some kinds of paper may not be recycled. These may include waxed paper, wrapping paper, plastic paper, beverage cartons, and toilet paper.

As per tape, only cellulose tape is biodegradable whereas conventional tape is non-degradable. The plastic tape can also not be recycled. There is only paper tape that can be recycled. 

Therefore, it is essential to know what material is used to make the tape you are planning to recycle. If it is made from paper, it can be recycled, otherwise, you will have to dispose of it. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that paper with tape on it can be recycled only if a paper tape is used. Paper can be recycled which may include newspapers, office paper, cardboard, magazines et cetera. Papers such as plastic paper or wrapping paper may not be recycled.

However, only paper tape can be recycled while plastic tape has to be disposed of. Plastic tape made from fossil fuels can not be recycled and hence should be discarded. 

Recycling is an amazing process of reusing waste by modifying it. Thus, there is no need to build materials from scratch. 

This leads to better waste management and better resource management. Recycling also ensures decreased consumption of non-renewable energy. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Can paper with tape be recycled?

What kind of tape can be recycled?

Only paper tape can be recycled. Plastic tape can not be recycled due to its composition. 

What types of paper can not be recycled?

Examples include waxed paper, wrapping paper, plastic paper, beverage cartons, and toilet paper. These types of paper can not be recycled. 

References

  • Merrild, H., Damgaard, A., & Christensen, T. H. (2009). Recycling of paper: accounting of greenhouse gases and global warming contributions. Waste Management & Research, 27(8), 746-753.
  • Aciu, C., Iluţiu–Varvara, D. A., Cobirzan, N., & Balog, A. (2014). Recycling of paper waste in the composition of plastering mortars. Procedia Technology, 12, 295-300.
  • Colon, F. J. (1976). Recycling of paper. Conservation & Recycling, 1(1), 129-136.
  • Yu, H., Zhu, Z., Zhang, Z., Yu, J., Oeser, M., & Wang, D. (2019). Recycling waste packaging tape into bituminous mixtures towards enhanced mechanical properties and environmental benefits. Journal of Cleaner Production, 229, 22-31.
  • Primepac. (August 10, 2020). Can packaging tape be recycled? Retrieved from: https://info.primepac.co.nz/blog/can-packaging-tape-be-recycled

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