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Environmental conservation and pollution reduction are among the imperative global concerns. As a result, global conventions have been held in which countries are required to follow certain environmental regulations. The most popular is the 3R concept: Reduce, re-use and recycle. All these practices are geared towards minimizing use, recovering and reducing energy costs. Moreover, this write up focused on two concepts: Reduction and recycling. It has been reported that in a world perspective, paper recycling has substantially improved since 1986. In Saudi Arabia Kingdom, there are legal frameworks which justify paper reduction and recycling. In addition, most of the recycling and reduction is done by the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company (SPMC) and its subsidiaries. There have also been established programs for awareness creation such as “Recycle Your City” and the Green Jeddah kids program. In a nutshell, although Saudi Arabia is not a leading recycler and reducer in paper production, governmental and private efforts have been somewhat effective in the conservation of the Saudi environment through reduction and recycling.
Although this discourse is based on the 3R concept, only two of them shall be discussed. These include paper reduction and recycling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To do this, general information on the subject matter shall be given. Secondly, since any policy has to operate in a legal framework, the regulations justifying environmental conservation through the two practices shall be outlined. Thirdly, the actual practice of reduction and recycling of paper as a mode of waste management shall be discussed. The final parts of the discussion shall focus on the summary, recommendations and conclusion.
There have been global concerns for the reduction in levels of pollution as one of the ways of curbing global warming. The major ways internationally recommended for pollution reduction are reduction, re-use and recycling. This has been referred to as 3R concept. Recycling is a way of waste recovery which reduces costs for raw materials, energy and waste disposal. This is so because paper produced from virgin pulp has great environmental and economic consequences. It recovers some of the primary material and reduces the solid waste present. Before paper is recycled, it is separated into high and low grades such as letterheads and newsprint respectively (Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania). On the other hand, paper reduction is a category of activities geared towards reducing unnecessary bulk of paper. Some of the activities include the purchase of only needed qualities, reduction in the packaging paper (source reduction), limitation of computer print outs, reduction of the use of papers that are difficult to recycle, use of reusable envelopes for intra-office correspondence and encouraging employees to use the minimum amount of paper. In computer applications, a Microsoft Word page margins may be reduced from 1.25 inches to .075 inches thus saving up to 4.75 percent. According to Dhir, Limbachiya and Newlands (32), reduction is preferred to recycling.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In 2005, it was estimated that these countries registered an annual consumption of 3.5 million tones of paper and board (Oxford Business Group 187). In Saudi Arabia itself, the per capita paper and board consumption was 38.6 kg per year. So as to offset the demand, the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company (SPMC) has always sought to apprehend sufficient market share and effectively compete with the other Gulf companies. However, since the resources such as water and fiber are scarce, the manufacturing company’s plans have been centered on recycling and improvement of operational efficiency so as to reduce the quantity of imported pulp. The then CEO of SPMC, Mubarak Bin Abdullah Al Khater, once said that the paper recycling and reducing is the key to the sustenance of the industry since tress-cutting would be reduced. This was further affirmed by Lodha who asserted that recycling of paper would greatly conserve forests (318). Other benefits include energy saving, control of pollution, reduction of solid wastes and reduction in water consumption.
According to Lodha, every 1.3 kg of waste paper produces 1 kg of recycled paper. On the contrary, every ton of conventional paper production sacrifices 17 trees. In a wider perspective, 35% of world’s commercial wood was reported to represent paper products; this was expected to hit 50% by 2000 (Lodha 318). Despite this knowledge, only a few world countries practice extensive recycling with South Korea, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal being the leaders.
The question of environmental degradation resulting from paper production and other practices has legal foundations. First of all, Saudi Arabia is a signatory to agreements, treaties, conventions and protocols relating to environmental protection. Vincent wrote that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the Montreal and the Kyoto Protocols which rate it as a non-Annex I state. Secondly, the country has enacted the Public Environmental Law through the Royal Decree No. M/34 of 2001. Table I shows some other tree-conservation-related enactments by the country. Worthy noting is the country’s regulatory framework for environmental rules which (framework) is responsible for conducting environmental studies and establishment of standards for paper production.
In February 2008, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) poll found out that Saudis were not aware that paper could be recycled. Following this poll, environmental activists launched a campaign dubbed ‘Recycle Your City” so as to raise the awareness of the subject matter (Lulwa Shalhoub, Arab News). The campaign was first to educate people and later to involve them in the recycling program. Some of the support systems were schools and organizations. Consequently, more school-based programs were initiated to create awareness and also to actually reduce and recycle. For instance, the Green Jeddah initiated the first recycling rally in Saudi Arabia by kids. In this awareness program, young kids aged between 3-6 years were engaged in a rally in which they were taught how to separate the recyclables from cans and plastics. The pupils were further emphasized the importance of writing on both sides of a paper so as to reduce their usage. Other programs such as dustbin audit were initiated. In this call, employees were required to separate the recyclables from non-recyclables and also identify which of the office papers were less required from the procurement perspective.
It has been observed that the waste paper in form of magazines, cartons, books and newspapers accounts for 33% of the total waste in some countries. In Saudi Arabia, there are waste paper collection centers. The general process of paper recycling begins with waste paper collection, de-inking then the converting process. SPMC is highly committed to reliance on waste paper collection in its manufacturing technology as well as retaining the legal standards required. Recycling requires waste paper and water recycled through filtration processes. After this process, the de-inked pulp is used by Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company (SPMC) to produce tissues, towels and napkins of high quality. Paper use reduction in Saudi Arabia includes, among other things, exchanges and gifts of unwanted papers. In some instances, waste is bought to ‘reduce’ it. Some of the subsidiary companies for SPMC are Saudi Recycling Company (SPRC), Saudi Paper Converting Company (SPCC), and Saudi Investment and Industrial Development Company. Other subsidiaries, though not located in Saudi Arabia are Al Madar Paper Recycling, Al Madar Paper Trading and Al Madar Paper.
All these companies have a common wider goal in the reduction and recycling of papers in the Kingdom. The holding company, SPMC does not only purpose to reduce and recycle paper but also to invest in Saudi. In other words, paper reduction and recycling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an investment nucleus. While SPMC is the largest manufacturer of tissue paper in the Middle East, SRC is popular not only in the collection of waste paper but also in its processing for recycling. From the year 2005, SPCC has specialized in the production of high quality tissue by the brands such as Pure, City, Excellence and Zaman (Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. ).
Other companies or organizations that deal with waste paper management include the Saudi Aramco and the SAMSO. For example, the Saudi ARAMCO initiated and pursued a paper recycling program in 1993. This program was not limited to a certain region but was a nationwide campaign that geared towards corporate social responsibility. The other company is SAMSO which recycles over 50,000 kg of paper each year. This company also re-cycles non-paper materials such as aluminum and glass.
Through paper recycling and reducing, 35-55% of energy is saved and pollution reduced by 95%. The solid waste is reduced by 130%, water saved by 58% and forests conserved by 100% (World Watch Institute Report). The Gulf Co-operation Council stipulates that all member countries should put waste paper recycling and reduction at the top of their national priorities. It could thus be assumed that Saudi Arabia prioritizes these practices not only as stipulated by international regulations but also by the regional economic body. Among the mostly recycled paper in Saudi Arabia are cartons. However, there is a poor implementation of either international, regional and country policies with regard to paper management in terms of waste.
Source Summary and Evaluation
Dhir, Limbachiya and Newlands’s work is an acclaimed report of an international symposium concerned with municipal solid waste (MSL) as an environmental priority of 21st century. One of the considerations of the symposium was the promotion of paper reduction together with recycling by at a higher level. Evaluation of the symposium outcome against the Saudi case does not get full implementation. The legal foundations and rules that govern paper production were outlined so as to contextualize the industry in terms of law. Peter Vincent’s works was a general overview of the environment of Saudi Arabia Kingdom. It was important in the evaluation of the legal framework through which paper recycling and reduction exists- as opposed to the traditional destructive way of production. In addition, professional and advocacy organizations have done great contributions towards the description of ways of waste paper management. In this category lies the works of the Oxford Business Group, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania and the World Watch Institute. Their views were mainly professional and based on research or experience. The international level of consensus also inspired this discussion to the extent that Saudi Arabia is said to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Montreal Protocol. All academic perspectives and business inputs have greatly influenced the development of the subject herein.
Both the manufacturing sector and the Saudi government should work together in the creation of more reduction-recycling programs across the country. Since it has been demonstrated that paper reduction produces better results than recycling, more emphasis should be accorded to the practice. Many benefits would accrue from recycling paper since its products are cheaper than the conventionally produced paper; this would improve Saudi economy.
Waste paper recycling should be encouraged through financial incentives and stimulation. There should also be strict legislative practices which bar any Saudi from reckless pollution and wastage of paper.
Saudi Korea should encourage recycling by formulating pragmatic policies which encourage recycling at the source.
The awareness programs should not only involve school children but also be entrenched in the school curricula. This shall inculcate the conservation consciousness into the minds of student from early stages. In addition, student in the institutions of higher learning should be more involved since they are on the threshold of their careers.
There is a need to carry out research on the actual effects of the conventional methods of paper from virgin pulp. It is only when consequences can be computed that the need to produce paper through reduction or recycling is intensified. Even more research should be carried out on the best practices for producing waste paper. The institutions of higher learning should thus stipulate capstone projects and research papers to students on conservation topics.
There is also a need for the international community to initiate or implement follow up programs for all the international conventions, protocols and treaties agreed upon. Although these conventions are not governments, it is critical that their deliberations should not be in vain. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia should know and live up to its expectations towards the obligations at the international level. A birds view approach would make the kingdom more pursuant of paper reduction and recycling practices.
It has been demonstrated that principles of environmental conservation and pollution reduction emanate from global sources. Two basic practices thereof are paper reduction and recycling. This discussion has not only outlined but also illustrated how the practices are carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. First and foremost, the concepts exist in a legally based framework in which different legislations have been enacted and treaties ratified. Further, it was demonstrated that the call is not only a governmental issue but has also been embraced by private organizations. In Saudi Arabia, companies and advocacy groups co-operate to manage waste. In addition, waste management is also an investment nucleus as demonstrated by the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company and its subsidiaries. Indeed, the sources used were sufficient academic authorities in the delineation of the topic. It was thus recommended that among other things, the Saudi government should initiate more nationwide programs so as to reduce the amount of waste and the consequences thereafter. Moreover, the efforts by the government, non-governmental organizations and private companies have made substantial contribution in waste paper management.
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