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Earth Day Recycling Paper 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago

(Earth Day Recycling Paper) Paper Waste: Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing

By Bethany Foutz



Description and Rationale

We all use paper products everyday, for writing, wrapping, art projects and more. Companies use the wood pulp from certain softwood trees, adding chemicals to it to make the right kind of paper for the product they’re producing. With so much paper being used everyday, and living in the Philippines where not everyone has access to a recycling center or garbage can, most of it is discarded on the streets. This causes more trees to be cut down and pollution to increase.


How many trees are cut on average to provide paper for the Philippines alone? Are there places set up where paper products can be recycled? What companies in the Philippines are already recycling paper? If more paper was recycled and less was produced, would that mean less chemicals used in papermaking would wind up polluting our water sources? How much impact can actually be made on such an ever-growing pollution problem?


Can students recycling trash really make a difference? On further research, there are organizations trying to help the paper production in the Philippines. One such is the Tappi Philippines organization that is working on applying science and research to provide the best way possible to produce paper and pulp products. While this is a great start, none of the companies seem to be doing anything to reduce the amount of pollution accumulating everyday from their paper products. If companies provided places to recycle their paper, would people use them? Has this been tried before but simply failed because of the Philippine’s poor economy? It seems that many are trying to improve the present day conditions, but are having a hard time getting the word around to the average 91,077,287 people living here. If more people recycled, less paper would be littering the streets, making the Philippines a cleaner place to live. Also, less trees would need to be cut down, and more trees means an improvement in the quality of air, and that’s especially important in an air polluted place like Manila.


The purpose of this project is to put together a special presentation for Faith Academy’s second grade elementary class. If each student constructs his or her own recycling system, a huge difference could be made in the Philippine’s economy. This presentation will be done through research of papermaking and production in the Philippines, and possibly even contacting recycling plants. Using different forms of visuals, an environmental message will be presented to the youth for them to act upon.


If the right impact is made on the youth of today, this could provide a safer, cleaner place for the residents of the Philippines to live and play in, and could open up more opportunities for similar things to be done.


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Biology- Eucalyptus Deglupta

Common Names and Synonyms


The Mindanao Gum is also scientifically known as Eucalyptus deglupta, some other names include Rainbow Eucalyptus, or the Rainbow Gum. This is because it has a multi-colored trunk that is actually quite beautiful, and it is the only eucalyptus that grows naturally in north of the equator in Mindanao. Other synonyms are Amamanit (Filipino); Aren (Indonesian); and Kamarere (Pidgin English).




Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)

Division: Magnoliophyta (Flowering Plants)

Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons: seed plants that produce an embryo)

Order: Myrtales (Basal group within the group of dicotyledons)

Family: Myrtaceae (Trees and shrubs yielding a fragrant oil)

Genus: Eucalyptus (Pulpwood Tree)

Species: E. Deglupta (Indonesian Gum)


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Morphology and Physical Description


The tree can grow up to 60 meters tall, with a maximum of 75 meters. The bark is usually smooth varying in colors from yellow, brown, purple, and green. Its twigs are 4-sided and can sometimes have 4 wings stretching out. Its young leaves are usually egg shaped to an arrow shape. While adult leaves vary but are usually a similar shape to the young leaves but are much thicker.



The E. deglupta is in the division Magnoliophyta, so it is a flowering plant. When the flower buds are still young, they are small and green, but as they develop they become globular and turn a pale green or a cream color. Their stamens are usually a white or a pale yellow color. They are an angular shape about 5 millimeters long with their stamens up to 10 millimeters long. A sort of lid, called an operculum, protects the flowers. This is why the tree is called Eucalyptus, from the Greek words “Eu” (Good or Well) and “Calyptos” (Covered).


When the fruits mature, they usually vary from a brown to a dark brown color. They are sphere-like in shape, and can be very thin. Each contain about 3-12 seeds in each of their 3-4 valves. The seeds are usually small and flat, and they are also brown in color.



Getting Energy


Since the E. deglupta is a plant, it is automatically a producer, and it makes its own energy using photosynthesis. Using water, carbon dioxide and sunlight, they make oxygen and carbohydrates, which are full of energy. This provides not only energy for the plant, but also energy for the consumers who eat the plant and gain energy from it.


They are found to be able to be grown at extreme conditions, such as in volcanic ash, and sand. They are also able to grow in clay and on a slope. They grow best though, in conditions with plenty of sunlight, because they are tropical and cannot grow where it is too cold.


They are found not to be able to grow in areas where there is an extreme dry season, because they rely on a significant amount of rain. They grow in locations where the rainfall exceeds 150 mm per month. Its pH range is anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5.


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Plant flowering can happen within the first year of growth, but it is more likely to happen within the second year and continue on in the same pattern annually. Depending on where the tree is alters when it flowers. For example, Indonesian E. deglupta flowers throughout the year and bears fruit when rainy season begins, which is most likely similar to the Philippine’s E. deglupta.


Each of the E. deglupta’s fruits contain around three to four valves. In each of these valves there are around three to twelve seeds. These seeds are most commonly carried by the river (a common habitat for the E. deglupta to grow), and are distributed in clumps along riverbanks.


It can be propagated, but it is found that through germination of the seeds, it can often be very inconsistent. It is found that germination works best in soil temperatures of about 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. It has also been found that it can be propagated through the replanting of the root’s offshoots.



Environmental Factors


The E. deglupta’s natural habitat is near rivers, and places where there is plenty of light so they can grow properly. It can be found in places that have been seemingly destroyed, like by landslides, and places where a volcanic eruption has occurred. The E. deglupta grows best in fertile, moisturized soil, but can also grow in volcanic ash and sand.


Most of the parasites that affect the eucalyptus trees are not harmful to humans. Although, eucalyptus trees are known for dropping entire branches while they grow in order to conserve water in periods of drought. This can be hazardous for those camping underneath trees, and many people have already died from falling branches.


A big problem that plagues the E. deglupta are insect pests known as aphids. While it takes many aphids to seriously damage a tree, even one can inject a harmful plant virus, which can cause a decline of growth in a tree, and even deformed reproductive structures. Reducing the amount of weeds can prevent them, and insects like ladybugs actually feed on the aphids.


Another harmful thing for the E. deglupta is fungi and rot, specifically the Pythium or Phytophthora. This damages the tree’s roots by shrinking and discoloring them, and then will proceed on to kill the plant’s leaves. This fungus cannot be treated as far as anybody knows, and the only solution is to uproot the plant and remove all the surrounding soil in order to keep it from spreading.


Many people are already recycling in order to preserve this tree, seeing that if the E. deglupta were to die out, many peanut bugs that depend on them would also die. The peanut bug, also known as the peanut-head bug or Fulgora laternaria, actually eats toxic chemicals that could be potentially harmful to us humans.


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Origin and Distribution


This species of eucalyptus is relatively new compared to most. It was originally found in Mindanao and was distributed throughout the Philippine Islands. It has also been introduced to many countries, including Brazil and New Britain, as well as Cote d’Ivoire and the Solomon Islands. It is mainly distributed throughout the tropics as a good plant for reforestation, and an excellent plant for making paper. It’s extremely susceptible to fire and while it can grow in cool environments, it does not thrive in areas with frost.



Importance to People


The E. deglupta is known for its pulpwood, which is needed in order to make paper. In the Philippines alone, it is the dominant tree grown in pulpwood plantations. Other countries have also used the E. deglupta in paper making because of its durability and the fact that its pulp can be bleached to a nice white color that is ideal in papermaking. The wood has been found to be strong, so as to make an excellent sulphate pulp, which is durable enough for regular writing paper. A single tree can give as much as 50% of pulp for paper, that is a considerable amount compared to other trees.


Although it can be used as firewood and charcoal, few would waste this tree because it is much too valuable. This is especially important for the Filipinos who grow and cultivate this plant. With the economy so low, many are extremely poor and cannot afford many things we take for granted. The E. deglupta can grow quickly and easily, and is a good cash crop that can bring a nice income.


While it is not necessarily known for being especially good at reforestation, it has recently been experimented with, and is showing some true potential in that area. It can enrich the planting trials in places that have been logged-over, or been destroyed be either natural or unnatural causes. If it continues to show such remarkable capabilities, this could solve a lot of problems that are arising due to over-logging here in the Philippines.


Since its bark is so pleasing to look at, the E. deglupta is sometimes grown for ornamental purposes. It is also used in construction, such as flooring, building boats, moulding, and furniture. The aroma that comes from the leaves has a pleasant smell, but at 0.2% per leaf it has not yet been seen as a way to gain profit.


This tree is very useful to the average Filipino because it is not only very valuable, but it is also easy to grow and pleasing to look at. Such a tree could be invaluable, especially in areas where the environment is receding due to improper care, such as littering. If more trees were preserved for such purposes, instead of used to make paper, which is a cause of environmental depletion, then more areas suffering from deforestation could begin to grow back to their original state.


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Survivability and Endangered Status


Known for its ability to grow quickly even in unfavorable conditions, this tree is far from going extinct at the moment. It is more likely to help the environment where it is being grown than to hinder it in any way. Although, with other kinds of eucalyptus trees, in some habitats they have actually destroyed the other plant life around them because of the competition for limited natural resources. Normal enemies of plants (termites, rot, moths, beetles etc.), while they are found in the E. deglupta, can usually be easily taken care of and exterminated, making it an extremely easy tree to take care of and produce.



Potential Solutions

Are paper products really the main contributors to pollution in this country? While it may be fairly obvious that pollution is an issue that must be dealt with, many believe that you can’t really make an impact by recycling. However, an organization called New American Dream researched recycling paper and came up with these results: “Producing recycled paper reduces air pollution by 74 percent, water pollution by 35, and energy consumption by 60 to 70 percent.” Proving that there is a significant amount impact made just by recycling paper we often just simply throw away. Further research still has to be made, but the Eucalyptus Deglupta seems to be far too valuable to waste all its resources on papermaking. There is another tree native to Asia called the Kenaf that is a better producer of paper, but as of yet is still too expensive to produce in large quantities. Below are three possibilities and an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages that come with each. The possibilities also include the progress being made on each possibility.



Possibility 1: Community Recycling Center


Recycling is not a new idea for anybody, but the sad thing is that few people, especially in the Philippines where we are economically challenged, know how to recycle. On observation, I’ve only found a few places that even have the option of recycling—mainly at the airport or in schools. Faith Academy’s elementary school has set up special recycling bins for trash. They’re recycling their trash, and then someone from the Smokey Mountain Children’s Ministry comes around to collect it for the children at Smokey Mountain so they can sell it and earn pesos. A similar thing could be done in nearby squatter villages.




1. There are so many families around that would benefit from an increase of cash intake. With this system, there would be limited cost to them, if any, and it would mostly be pure profit. Many Barangay Captains are already enforcing recycling, and in many cases it seems successful. In Barangay Salvacion 60% of the community is already recycling their trash. This is a huge improvement from when people used to throw their trash in the nearby river. The people there can earn up to a combined P4,000 from selling their recyclables.


2. With a place to properly throw away their trash, people can be dissuaded from throwing trash into nearby bodies of water, such as rivers or sewers. This would not only reduce ground pollution, but also water pollution.




1. Even in Barangay Salvacion, they had a hard time teaching people how to properly dispose of their trash. They had to form special teams to enforce the new penalties. They also have a dedicated group consisting of officials and representatives that make up the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Council. In my community I have neither the time, the connections, nor the money to enforce the use of a new recycling center. It would take someone in high authority in order for any good to come from it.


2. At other recycling centers, someone comes around to claim the trash. While a community could learn to dispose of their own trash, they might not know what to do with it, or who should have it. I cannot personally come by and make sure that trash is properly taken care of. I’m afraid this system will fall apart too quickly to be of any use.


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Possibility 2: Trash Pick Up


To encourage proper disposal of trash, a class from Faith Academy could walk down the road to the nearby squatter village and pick up the garbage littering the side of the road.




1. The community could learn by example. When seeing children pick up trash, maybe they, too, can learn the importance of proper waste management. The students could even encourage other children to join in and teach them not to throw their trash on the ground.


2. This would clean up the community and its nearby water sources and make it a healthier, safer place to live.




1. This is only a one-time event. I, and the class that helps me, could not commit to regularly going down and picking up trash. There is no guarantee that the community would continue to pick up trash and put it in its proper place. There would not be any lasting results.


2. While intentions are good, it could be that some take offence at the fact that a class is coming to clean up where they live. Many already try their best to keep their area clean and tidy. The wrong impression might be made that we consider ourselves to be better than them and think that they need help.


3. The amount of work and organization to take a class even down the road is far too time consuming. As a ninth grade student, I have to juggle several other classes and responsibilities, as well as several extra-curricular activities. Organizing this event would mean handing out permission slips to take kids off of campus, buying garbage bags and plastic gloves, and possibly taking time out of classes.


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Possibility 3: Teaching a Class


As the saying goes, “Recycling starts in the home.” After talking to Ms Monette Villanueva and observing the way that elementary division is recycling already and looking at some other examples, I designed my own home recycling center. This center consists of four containers I found around my home (old cardboard boxes, laundry detergent pails, etc.) lined with plastic bags that our groceries come in. I made signs in both English and Tagalog, indicating which recyclable goes into which container. I constructed a lesson plan and found a song online to teach about recycling. During the second grade’s library time at Faith Academy, I taught the students the song and instructed them on how to make their own home recycling center. I especially emphasized the importance of recycling paper and the many benefits of it. Each student went home with a letter of explanation for their parents and coloring sheets so they could construct their own home recycling center.





1. If the children do go home and make their own recycling center, their recyclables would go to their house helpers or poor children. With the money they would be making from selling those recyclables, the children would no longer have to scavenge garbage dumps for their next meal (e.g., like the Tanza 1 landfill). The money could also be used for their education and nutrition, and they would be kept away from the harmful methane gas of the garbage dumps.


2. Due to the recent talk about private trash pickup, many who pick through the garbage at the dumpsites will take a hard blow. Junk shops would be able to claim the valuable items first, leaving practically nothing for the gatherers. A home recycling system is a way to provide enough recyclables that a family could still make a living and not be out of a job.


3. God put man in charge of maintaining and caring for the Earth He has created for us, but even in our homes we are carelessly throwing away so many valuable resources. Littering the ground with garbage is showing contempt for what He has so graciously given us. Recycling takes care of the Earth and it also gives us an opportunity to reach out to those around us in need.




1. There is no guarantee that students will start a home recycling center and keep it up long enough for it to be of any use. It all is really in their hands whether they want to keep the earth clean or whether they want to contribute to the ever overflowing landfills. The students are still young, and may not yet fully understand just how important it is to take care of our planet.


2. Even if students do make a home recycling system, they may not be able to make much difference at all. Poverty and trash are two huge issues in this country, and it seems like anything done to help either of them is just a small drop in the bucket. One person cannot help everyone, no matter how much they want to. It is going to take a universal effort if we want any true change in the condition of our planet.


Possible Future Directions


In my interview with Monette Villanueva we talked about the possibility of taking the recycling ministry that the elementary division is doing, and making it a school-wide project. She seemed eager but concluded that it would be very difficult, and there would be a lot more trash to deal with. Perhaps an organization could be formed that deals purely with recycling at Faith. We could focus specifically on one recycling paper product at first. Also, new directions could be given to the janitors to encourage their participation in recycling. A student committee could also be formed to monitor the process and come up with ideas of how students could be more involved with recycling and cleaning up the planet.


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