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The Penny Jar Phenomenon

It was a crisp October morning when I pulled into the parking lot at work. After taking my last sip of coffee, I made my way towards the office door. Nearing the sidewalk, I noticed something shiny and partly concealed in a pile of leaves. Smiling to myself, I picked up the object, and placed it in my jacket pocket. Penny without background


"I found a penny," I exclaimed to the secretary as I passed by the front desk. She lowered her reading glasses slightly, and remarked, "That's nice Joy, but I don't see why you're so excited! It's only a penny."


"That's true," I admitted. "But I've been saving pennies for years, and now my jar is full! One penny may not carry a lot of weight, but 5,000 pennies gives me $50.00!"


So...you may be wondering how a penny collection relates to recycling. To begin, we're going to shift our focus from pennies to paper. Just as pennies are often discarded, so is paper after it's been used. What difference does it make if a sheet of paper goes in the recycle bin or the trash? After all, it's only one sheet of paper.


Just like it takes time to fill a penny jar, it may take a while to generate enough paper to make an environmental impact, but is it worth the wait...?


Let's take a look!


First, we're going to acquire four, 95 gallon bins. Then, every time there's paper to discard, we'll throw it in one of the bins. (This includes magazines, newspaper, junk mail, etc.)


Weeks pass...(For brevities sake, we'll fast forward to the exciting moment of finding 4 full bins!)


Since one 95 gallon bin holds 300 lbs. of paper, we now have 1,200 lbs. to recycle! When we plug that number into Midwest Fiber's environmental calculator, we can see the estimated environmental impact. Was recycling paper worth the effort? You can decide.  


environmental calc

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Thursday, 13 August 2020

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Recycled paper supplies more than 37% of the raw materials used to make new paper products in the U.S. Without recycling, this material would come from trees. Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the equivalent of 12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of 24 trees.