Posts in category “Reviews”

What are the benefits to recycling paper both industrially and within non-industrial circumstances and as such is there any detriments to recycling paper? (Literature Review)

This literature review aims to explore the research question; “What are the benefits to recycling paper both industrially and within non-industrial circumstances and as such is there any detriments to recycling paper?”. Pivnenko et al. explores the chemicals in paper and recycled papers (Pivnenko et al., 2015, p.135). It compiles a table totalling chemicals used in certain paper productions and national industries while the paper is also a literature review highlighting sources important in the carcinogenicity and toxicity of chemicals used in certain paper processing (and inclusive of recycled paper processing as well).

In exploring the losses of strength, durability, and quality in paper during the recycling project; Nazhad’s thesis that when recycling paper the tensile strength is at a loss due to the loss of the fines (Nazhad, 1994, p.67-68). Another paper of note by Peretz et al. backs this up as it explores that paper waste has been recycled multiple times and “through the recycling process, the fibres are shortened by mechanical erosion” (Peretz et al., 2021, p. 1599). Bouchard and Douek (1994) have explored that the flexibility decreases when recycling paper alongside the strength in that there are changes in the surface properties of the pulp during the recycling process which causes these changes to happen (Bouchard, Douek, 1994, p.131). However, this is only if the paper has been processed in certain ways; most notably via mechanical means- the study also explores how there is no evidence for lignin degradation as the concentration remains constant (Bouchard, Douek, 1994, p.135).

However, Nazhad’s paper also mentions the extreme benefits to recycling paper in reducing landfill sizes in which 35 million tonnes of paper recycled had amounted to the reduction of a landfill that hypothetically be the size of 14.3 square kilometres and to the depth of 4 metres (Nazhad, 1994, p.1). Therefore, despite the losses of quality in paper – in which is the cost of reducing landfill sizes would be a greater turnout rather than causing pollution to the environment via land use for garbage disposal.

Nonetheless, Peretz explains that recycling paper in the industrial context has still caused the filling of landfills as recycled paper sludge that has too short paper fibres being disposed in landfills which have caused landfilling, greenhouse gas emissions and the contamination of groundwater (Peretz et al., 2021, p.1600). Moreover, Laurijssen’s study explores how recycling paper saves around 1 t CO2/t paper than without recycling (Laurijssen et al., 2010, pp. 1214). In relation to the health detriments that recycling paper can cause, Vukoje’s paper states that the chemicals from the inks in the recycled paper can cause health problems or safety issues (Vukoje, 2018, p. 516). However, this can be countered through enzymatic deinking which uses cellulases and hemicellusases to remove the ink (Vukoje, 2018). Along with a lot of paper that can be recycled is often filled with fillers like calcium carbonate and kaolin (Vukoje, 2018, p. 521).

According to Virtanen and Nilsson’s study if the printing process had different chemicals, it would be a good source of clean energy (Virtanen, Nilsson, 1992, p. 11). From this it shows that the chemicals used in ink could be a causation for bad health if burnt up- which could purport that making recycled paper in a home environment may not be safe to do. The paper also goes through how the societal idea of recycling equals better in the relation to paper and the idea of its benefits to the environment in that recycling (in a presumably, industrial scale) leads to more SO2 emissions (Virtanen, Nilsson, 1992, p.31).


In conclusion, this literature review highlights important studies in the idea of the benefits to recycling paper while also arguing the dangers (inclusive of chemical usage and chemical recycling). It has been shown through multiple studies that the strength, flexibility, and quality of the paper diminishes when recycling- especially over multiple cycles if processed in certain ways. However, the benefit of reducing landfill size (not fully eliminating this due to the recycled paper sludge being landfilled) and general reduction of pollution could out way the negative quality detriments.

In the idea of how recycling in the home; the chemicals could be dangerous if the material being recycled is or has been printed on prior. Along with actual environmental dangers to recycling paper- this literature review gives a well rounded look at studies both looking at the benefits and the detriments.


Pivnenko, Kostyantyn, Eriksson, Eva, Astrup, Thomas F. (2015) ‘Waste paper for recycling: Overview and identification of potentially critical substances’ in Waste management, Vol. 45, pp. 134 – 142 Nazhad, Mousa M. (1994) Fundamentals of strength loss in recycled paper, University of British Columbia Library, Vancouver, pp. 1 – 154

Peretz, Roi, Mamane, Hadas, Wissotzky, Eli, Sterenzon, Elizaveta, Gerchman, Yoram (2021) ‘Making cardboard and paper recycling more sustainable: Recycled paper sludge for energy production and water-treatment applications’ in Waste and Biomass Valorization, Vol. 12, pp. 1599 – 1608

Bouchard, J., Douek, M. (1994) ‘The effects of recycling on the chemical properties of pulps’ in Journal of pulp and paper science, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 131 – 136

Laurijssen, Jobien, Marsidi, Marc, Westenbroek, Annita, Worrell, Ernst, Faaij, Andre (2010) ‘Paper and biomass for energy?: The impact of paper recycling on energy and CO2 emissions’ in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 54, No. 12, pp. 1208 – 1218

Vukoje, Marina, Rožić, Mirela (2018) ‘Various valorisation routes of paper intended for recycling a review’ in Cellul. Chem. Technol, Vol. 57, No. 7 – 8, pp. 515 – 541

Virtanen, Yrjö, Nilsson, Sten (1992) Some environmental policy implications of recycling paper products in Western Europe, pp. 1 - 39

Book Review of "Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction"

Today's book review is Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (2020) by Robert J. C. Young. The book first introduces itself by exploring what exactly the term "postcolonialism" is, it delivers this in a succinct and direct way. In relation to neo-colonialism, it links this to the post-colonial states like Iran, Iraq, etc. In that, we still see neocolonialism today and the power dynamics displayed by the major powers. However, already a disappointing part of the book is that Said's work seems to be rather glossed over rather than explored more thoroughly. This is disappointing as his life's work is extremely seminal in the field of postcolonial theory and rather consequently marks the book down slightly.

The first chapter mostly explores language, literature, politics and somewhat the intersectionality with feminist theory. The most interesting area I found with this chapter was the exploration of Global South writers writing about their people's experiences rather than the western tourist's account. Looking through Instagram and generally social media I do see how problematic sometimes some tour accounts are with how they use non-western people for profit and therefore are exploitative towards them. In other words, it creates an idealized "other" and engages with the fictional 'orient' that doesn't exist apart from the originator or exploitative mind.

The second chapter picks up from the first, delving into decolonisation, the emergence of postcolonial theory and colonialism. It references numerous authors on the topic and therefore creates great points for a divergence to look for more literature when exploring post-colonial theory. It makes a list of literature to explore after finishing the introduction to go further into the theory. Smoothing towards the third chapter, we see that it explores the effects of slavery and race. It teaches that post-colonialism is also a form of decolonisation of self and its views on the caste system.

In chapter four we see the history of Iraq and British colonialism (and neo-colonialism) told in a very eye-opening first-person account. Along with makes the reader question their own raisings as well, especially me as I was primarily raised in the UK with what happens to be our country profiting from the Iraq war. This chapter ended up making me challenge my own ideas of contemporary Britain. Chapter five explores nation-states mostly and independence while also critiquing that some non-Western nations (with borders created by the European powers) have ethnic issues in that there are prejudices towards the minorities of those countries.

Thus it has presented factual information through historical references clearly and concisely to the audience in an easier-to-read way for non-academics to understand the idea behind the post-colonial theory. Going thereon Chapter six presents popular culture as a form of postcolonial decolonisation by informing the world about a peoples struggles and how popular culture is a form of hybridity itself. These discourses provide substantial information on understanding the ideas behind decolonising ourselves through engaging with pop culture as a whole.

The veiling of women in the Global South is explored throughout Chapter seven, it brings well-rounded points on the hypocrisy of western neo-colonialist behaviour to those peoples in the name of 'women's rights'. Though this issue is very debated today between mostly western circles and peoples it is not theirs to decide for the Global Southern women. The argument is concisely and thoroughly explored and it is very relevant to today's time and context in post-colonialism. Continuing onto the next chapter we see the connections between post-colonialism and women's rights in a very well-written chapter with connections back to the previous idea of veils and that men have worn them yet have not been as widely critiqued by the Global North as how women have.

The ninth chapter explores globalism and its effects on the Global South and the example of Nestle which is a rather big eye-opener. This chapter also indirectly helps the reader to start questioning how companies generate their wealth especially if they are operating factories or other ventures in the Global South. It smoothly transitions in the tenth chapter to ecological theory and explores the intersectionality between feminism, eco-theory and postcolonialism and ends with a question on how neoliberal democracies will deal with this issue that now affects them. The end chapter briefs on psychoanalytical theory and its intersectional relations to postcolonialism.

Overall, this book gives a clear overview of postcolonial theory and how it works within the discourses provided in the text. Though there are some critiques towards this book that I have in such not much expanded on the seminal literature on this topic and the authors - the book does counteract my point by having a glossary of authors at the front page linked with words corresponding to their main topic. It creates a point of divergence into other topics to explore the idea much more thoroughly. I would say that this is honestly a great introduction to the idea of postcolonialism and is definitely required if you wish to understand this without knowing much about postcolonial theory.