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Recycling paper is important for households and businesses to reduce the amount sent to landfill while also saving resources and energy. Paper is one of the most used materials in the world and it’s easy to recycle. This includes everything from the daily newspaper to envelopes and leaflets.

Even though we live in a modern digital world there are still many uses of paper in our domestic and working lives. Recycling paper products has a big positive environmental impact. Find out how to recycle paper, the way the process works, and everything else you need to know in this guide to recycling and reusing paper.

If you’ve got lots of paper to get rid of already then at Divert we can help. Request a free quote for waste paper collection and recycling for your business with Divert – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online today.

A Guide to Recycling Paper

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What is paper waste?

Paper waste is any kind of paper product that’s disposed of after it has been used or if it’s no longer needed. Instances of waste paper could be an out-of-date leaflet for a local takeaway, or a report printed off at work that’s been used in a presentation. Another term for paper waste is scrap paper.

Any paper products thrown away are a kind of post-consumer paper waste, which is the most common type. Paper waste is also produced during the manufacturing process and is known as mill broke – trimmings, offcuts, and scrap. Any paper discarded before it reaches consumers is known as pre-consumer waste.

Examples of paper waste include:

  • Old newspapers and magazines
  • Letters and envelopes
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Brochures
  • Paper packaging
  • Bills
  • Printing paper
  • Wrapping paper

What is paper recycling?

Paper recycling is the process of converting waste paper into new products. This involves decomposing old paper materials and turning them into pulp, which is the raw material used to create recycled paper. It’s then turned into various fresh paper products without the need for any extra wood or resources.

Recycling paper is simple at home as most local councils and authorities accept such waste in domestic recycling bins or bags. Businesses can also use separate paper bins to store all sorts of waste paper products and arrange collection for recycling. Paper is one of the most recycled materials in the world.

Why should we recycle paper?

Recycling paper products is important because it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle. Most clean and dry paper is recyclable, as long as it’s not laminated or contains any other materials that can’t be separated, such as plastic or wax. Reusing paper extends the life of the materials too.

The main paper recycling benefits are that it saves resources, and energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This is because creating new paper requires chopping down trees and energy to transport and convert them into paper. Recycling also prevents paper from ending up in landfill, which saves valuable space and avoids adding to pollution levels.

blank pieces of paper in a pile.

How does recycling paper help the environment?

Reusing and recycling paper cuts back greenhouse gas emissions in various ways. It avoids more trees being chopped down to create fresh paper while also reducing the energy required to manufacture fresh products. If paper goes to landfill it decomposes and releases methane, which is one of the worst greenhouse gases. Paper recycling avoids this.

A few key stats that explain why we should recycle paper and how it helps the environment are:

  • Recycling one tonne of paper saves 17 trees
  • It also saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Recycling paper uses 70% less energy and water compared to creating new paper
  • Every tonne of paper recycled also saves around 30,000 litres of water
  • Recycling paper reduces CO2 emissions by 20% compared to incineration

How many trees does recycling paper save?

Recycling one tonne of paper saves around 17 trees. Every year across the world about four billion trees are chopped down to produce paper. Recycling one tonne of paper also saves 4000 kilowatts of energy and nearly 1,500 litres of oil (as well as 30,000 litres of water) that would be used to create new paper.

What is the process for recycling paper?

The paper recycling process is straightforward and involves old products being broken down into pulp and then turned into new recycled paper products. These are the main steps of the paper recycling process:

  • Waste paper is thrown in dedicated paper bins at work or domestic recycling bins alongside other dry recyclables at home.
  • The paper waste is collected and transported to a nearby recycling plant.
  • All the paper is sorted, and any contaminants are removed. It’s separated by type and grade.
  • The paper is washed with water and soap to get rid of any staples, glue, ink, plastic, or other contaminants.
  • Next, the paper goes into a big container and is mixed with water to create a slurry.
  • Materials might be added to the slurry to create certain recycled paper products.
  • The slurry is spread out, rolled, and left to dry before being cut into sheets.
  • Finally, these sheets of recycled paper are sent to manufacturers to use and create recycled paper products.

Ways of recycling paper at home

Recycling paper at home is quick and easy. In most cases, you can just throw it away in your household recycling bin for your local authority to collect and recycle. The paper needs to be clean, dry, and recyclable – so no plastic wrapping paper or wax-coated paper products, for example.

If you’ve got lots of waste paper, such as stacks of old newspapers or magazines, it might be too much for your bin. Another option for recycling paper at home is to take such waste to your local household waste recycling centre (HWRC). Most have a designated container for paper recycling where you can drop it off.

How to recycle paper as a business

Businesses must arrange commercial waste collection by licensed waste carriers of all paper for recycling. Organisations must reduce, reuse, and recycle rubbish where possible. Recycling paper from your business is an easy way to achieve this by using paper bins to separate waste paper from other refuse.

At Divert we can provide a range of free paper bins to store any type of waste paper on your site before it’s collected and recycled. This includes two-wheel 240 litre wheelie bins to large four-wheel 1,100 litre wheelie bins. Book removals on a daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis to suit your needs.

Licensed waste carriers will remove your waste paper and take it to a nearby recycling facility to be recycled. You’ll receive a free duty of care certificate that confirms the recycling of your paper waste.

piles of office paper stacked up.

Where does shredded paper go in recycling?

Shredded paper should not be put in your household recycling bin or a paper recycling bin. This is because the fibres are often too small to be recycled and can fall through the machinery during the sorting process. However, you can arrange confidential waste collection of shredded paper to avoid it going to landfill.

Another popular option is to compost shredded paper – as long as it’s not glossy or coloured paper. Old, shredded newspapers and other paper types are safe to use in compost heaps or as mulch and they quickly break down. Add it to your compost pile in your garden or arrange collection for composting.

Arrange paper recycling for your business

At Divert we can recycle commercial paper waste from many businesses. We aim to divert all waste away from landfill so you can rest assured your waste paper will be recycled. Request a free no-obligation quote for paper collection and recycling from your organisation today based on your needs – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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