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Books ruined by flood recycled into envelopes

Updated: Mar 15, 2024 By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang China Daily Print
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A huge number of books ruined by floodwaters last year in Zhuozhou, Hebei province, have been recycled into new paper products that are being used across the country.

In late July and early August, rains in North China and the Yellow and Huaihe river valleys caused floods and geological disasters in Beijing, Hebei and elsewhere. Zhuozhou was one of the worst-affected areas.

Numerous books were damaged by the floods, as the city housed more than 200 enterprises in the book industry, including printing houses, booksellers, and logistics and warehousing companies.

After the companies resumed normal operation, they recycled their submerged books.

According to Cainiao Express, one of China's major logistics providers, about 200,000 envelopes have been produced with the recycled paper for use in its network across the country.

"The envelopes made with the ruined books were strictly recycled, sorted, cleaned, pulped, disinfected and reused," said Su Lei, a worker with Cainiao Express.

More than 30 metric tons of submerged books have been recycled, Su added.

"At the beginning, we wanted to make packing boxes out of the recycled books, but it did not meet the strength requirements, so later we considered manufacturing envelopes, which meet national standards in all aspects and can be used normally," Su said.

When the envelopes were first put into use, they received a lot of positive feedback from consumers.

Some mentioned that they had been very concerned about the submerged books in Zhuozhou, and to support local booksellers they had purchased many books online, Su said.

Now they were surprised and touched to find that the ruined books had been recycled into envelopes, all of which were printed with words such as "This envelope was made from recycled books ruined by floods in Zhuozhou".

BooksChina, one of the country's biggest online booksellers, was one of many in Zhuozhou that lost numerous books.

"To prevent the submerged books from getting moldy, we sorted them out and sold them right after the floods receded to a paper mill in Shandong province," said Huang Ping, founder and CEO of BooksChina.

"In addition to making envelopes, the books were also recycled into other paper products as far as I know."

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