ShredQuick Blog

Feeling Curious, Clearwater? Here’s a Brief History of Paper Recycling

Are you curious about how recycling came to be or how long it’s been around? You’re in luck! We’re going to give you a brief history of paper recycling. 

Ancient Paper Recycling 

The very first recorded instance of recycling was in early Japanese culture. Almost as soon as paper was in use, the Japanese people began recycling it. 

That became an integral part of the production and consumption of paper. Many historians believe that paper recycling was an effort to conserve materials. 

In the 8th century, people living in modern-day Syria learned how to make paper when they captured a Chinese paper mill. They used that technology as a model to build their own paper mill in Spain after they invaded Europe.

Soon, paper mills were popping up all over Europe using the Chinese method of papermaking. That included the recycling of old cloth and rags to make individual fibers for paper. 

Colonial Era Paper Recycling 

America’s first paper mill, the Rittenhouse Mill, was built in 1690 in Philadelphia. In operation until the mid-1800s, this mill recycled old materials like old fabric, cloth, cotton, and linen to print and sell to printers in Germantown, Philadelphia, and New York for use in Bibles and newspapers.

The Twenty-First Century

Today, mills utilize recycled paper in order to make notebook paper, newspapers, magazines, and envelopes.

But, of course, mills are not as widespread in this country as they once were, and when the demand for paper grew, paper-making machines were invented, and factories found a cheaper way to make more paper faster—namely, trees. 

Modern paper-making is less sustainable than mill paper-making for many reasons, including the energy used to cut and process trees into paper. 

Use ShredQuick and Recycle Safely

In 2017, the United State’s recycling rate was at 65.9%, until it increased to 68.1% in 2018. Paper recycling has certainly become standard protocol for many businesses and helps reduce waste and landfills.

But, what about recycling documents and other vital pieces of paper? If you want to recycle documents you no longer need, you should consider shredding them first. 

It’s great to recycle paper when you can, but just handing over sensitive documents for recycling is risky. If those documents fall into the wrong hands, identity theft becomes a real threat. 

That’s why you need to shred your important papers with ShredQuick before recycling them. Shredded paper can still be recycled, and the shredding process protects your information. Call us today for more details on how to protect the environment and your business!

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