An unusual machine was developed in 1799 by the Frenchman Louis Robert - with its help it was possible to shred paper that was already in use, make a homogeneous mass and again produce paper. For a day, with the help of the invention of Louis Robert, it was possible to process up to 100 kg. paper pulp. And the paper itself received a "second life".
Already in the 19th century, many waste paper collection points appeared in Europe. Recycling of paper made it possible to save entire forests from deforestation. It is estimated that one ton of secondary raw materials will replace four cubic meters of timber. It is easy to guess how much the area of forests on our planet has decreased, if not for the invention of Louis Robert. Germany is currently the world leader in waste paper collection, where more than 70 percent of paper products are recycled.
Soon after the revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, having learned that old newspapers and books are simply burned in the ovens, suggested thinking about a more rational attitude to paper. After a while, first in large cities, and then everywhere, points of reception of recyclable materials appeared. Junk vendors rode through the streets with a loud shout: “We take the old stuff!”.
But, in the sixties, paper for recycling began to be sorely lacking. Then it was decided to involve schoolchildren in the collection of waste paper. Competitions were started among the classes, and the winners were awarded with pennants, badges or movie tickets. From an early age, children were told that several tens of kilograms of waste paper save a whole tree.
It was impossible to solve the problem of recycling waste paper with the help of schoolchildren. Need help from adults. But the price for waste paper was purely symbolic - 2 kopecks per kilogram. Then the authorities decided to play on the attraction of bibliophiles to rare books: having passed 20 kg. raw materials, you could get a coupon for the purchase of works by those authors whose books were almost impossible to find on the free sale: Conan Doyle, Dumas or Pikul.
Such admission rules came into force in 1974. By the way, those who were not interested in the books of the listed authors could resell this coupon. Connoisseurs of rare books willingly paid 3-5 rubles for it. The amount of waste paper handed over increased, about a quarter of all paper was recycled.
About 115 billion sheets of office paper are recycled annually in the world. But in China, over the same period of time, about 10, 000 trees are cut down just for the production of greeting cards. Almost half of all deforested forests are used for paper production.
A curious incident happened in 2015 in Bangkok. A waste paper collector stopped by the library of the University of Arts. He was pointed to a pile of old books and newspapers. Only when he left did the employees realize that, by mistake, very valuable specimens had also fallen into the heap of recyclable materials. I had to urgently rush to the warehouse to buy the waste paper back. But not everything was found. The receiver explained that on the way he was caught in the rain, part of the cargo got wet, therefore, he simply threw the spoiled books in the trash. He also added that he graduated only from elementary school, therefore, he is poorly versed in rare books.