Sunday, 26 June 2011

recycled paper

I paid a lovely visit to Wakehurst Place in West Sussex the other day. Wakehurst Place is run by the people who run Kew Gardens, the National Trust and also gets government funding (55% of it's income).

It is an amazing combination of nature reserve, beautiful grounds, and conservation work.

It had lovely explanations about the delicate balance of nature.

One of the displays was about all the uses of wood by local crafts people: e.g. wooden bowels, furniture, baskets, spoons, fences, sculpture etc.   All loved wood for the way it could be sustainably harvested.
Which makes me wonder about the wisdom of the emphasis on recycling paper.  usually the alternative is top access documents electronically or online. Now I haven't got any estimates, but it seems to me not entirely unlikely that most electronic devices are powered with non-renewable energy.    Paper was perhaps a good item to start recycling because there was a market and the process of producing paper can be at quite an environmental cost.Yet, I suspect that compared to say the environmental cost of discarded metals and rare elements in computers etc, the cost of paper is not so high.  That doesn't mean I against recycled paper, I use lots  myself, but it does make me wonder if the message on recycling is quite right.  Reduce, reuse and then recycle should be the sequence. In the commercial world, reduce is often the last thing on anyones mind, but actually, some of us might be a lot happier if we reduced our consumption of consumer goods.

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