What is made from recycled paper? Is it worth taking the time to separate it into white paper, colored paper, newspapers and magazines? ~Short on Time

Dear Short on Time,

Absolutely, it is worth the time it takes to sort recyclable white and colored paper, magazines, and newspaper. According to Earth911, the number of products made from recycled paper have increased rapidly because of concerns over the environment. All these items can be used for different products, if they are sorted. Products made from recycled office paper vary from toilet paper and paper towels to greeting cards, printer/copy paper, egg cartons, and grocery bags. Recycled magazine paper may be used to construct decorative items, such as handbags, vases, and jewelry. Recycled newspapers are made into newspapers and tissue paper. According to the San Mateo County RecycleWorks, “Each 20 cases of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4,100 kwh of energy. It also eliminates 60 pounds of air-polluting emissions and saves 8 cubic feet of landfill space.”

Someone told me that cereal boxes could be recycled with office paper. This doesn’t seem to make sense. Are they correct? ~Recycler

Dear Recycler,

Yes, you were given correct information, even though it sounds a little strange. In a previous column we said to put these items in with cardboard. Actually, cereal and toothpaste boxes, candy and frozen dinner boxes (not waxed), shoe and tissue boxes and other similar type boxes should be recycled with office paper! All these boxes are all made of the recyclable material called paperboard; a material similar in shape and composition to paper, but generally thicker, stronger, and more rigid. Earth911.com stated that “paperboard items have one layer while corrugated cardboard has three layers –two flat pieces sandwiched around a middle wavy layer.” Actually, we use lots of paperboard products every day, ones that we all may have previously put in with cardboard or in the trash. It seems weird at first to put a cereal box in with office paper, but I know we will all soon adapt to this new way of thinking about paperboard boxes.