UBC Undergraduate Research

The Environmental Impact of Paper Waste Recycling: A Comparative Study MacEachern, Neil


This paper aims to quantify the environmental impact of recycling paper in Canada versus other paper waste management options using the indicators of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis was carried out comparing recycling to landfill, landfill with methane capture, energy-from-waste, cogeneration, and the use of conserved timber for energy. A review was done of existing paper life cycle analyses, as well as original calculations using data from refereed and Canadian government sources. It was found that recycling, based on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, does reduce environmental impact, but that this benefit can be increased by recycling fibre multiple times, and through the integration of more than one management method.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International