How To Recycle Paper
Paper is one of the most recycled materials in the UK. Most local councils operate curbside paper recycling collections to recycle your paper. To check whether your local authority operates paper recycling collections, you can check your postcode here. Alternatively, you can also recycle paper using paper banks in supermarkets and retail parks or at a local Recycling Centre.
The Benefits of Recycling Paper
Recycling paper has a massive benefit to the environment. Worldwide, 4 billion trees are cut down for paper every year. The UK uses more than 12 million tons of paper each year and recycles around 80% of the paper.
It takes 5 litres of water to make one sheet of A4 paper and 24 trees to make one tonne of paper. If everyone in the UK recycled 10% more paper, we could save 5 million trees each year.
Recycled paper uses 70% less energy and produces 73% less air pollution than making paper from raw materials. By recycling one tonne of paper, we can save 17 trees, 4,000 KW of energy, 380 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3㎥ of landfill.
What Paper Can Be Recycled?
Types of paper that are accepted for recycling:
- Newspaper supplements
- Computer paper
- Shredded paper
- Phone directories
- Junk mail
- Coloured paper
- Greetings cards without glitter, glue, wax, and foil
- Paper with staples in it – the recycling plant will remove the staples
- Paper with ink on it – the recycling process removes the ink
Types of paper that are not suitable for recycling:
- Paper stained with grease or food such as takeaway cartons
- Paper stained with paint
- Sanitary/hygiene products e.g. nappies, wipes, sanitary towels
- Used paper towels
- Greaseproof and baking paper
- Cotton-wool and make-up pads
- Wet wipes
- Paper with adhesive e.g. post-it notes, sticky labels, paper tape
- Non-paper gift wrap
- Crisp or sweet wrappers
- Brown paper – should be recycled with card
- Wax paper
Some notebooks with printed pages are not suitable for recycling as the ink on the paper cannot be cleaned from the paper fibres. The new nu: evolve eco-friendly notebook range by nu: notebooks feature recycled and recyclable notebooks, as they are printed using vegetable inks, and stitched with 100% natural fibres.
How is Paper Recycled?
- Paper is collected from your home and taken to a paper mill for recycling.
- Once at the paper mill, the paper is separated and sorted into different types and grades.
- The paper is pulped in a tank with water and chemicals which separate the fibres in the paper.
- It is screened to filter out debris such as paper clips and labels.
- The paper then goes through a cleaning process. A cone-shaped container spins the paper, which washes the pulp. This helps to remove ink and other contaminants.
- This mixture, which is 95% water and 1% fibre, is pumped and sprayed into a sheet on a moving mesh.
- The paper is pressed and dried to remove any water.
- The sheets are then passed through large heated rollers. This helps the mill achieve the correct thickness and moisture content.
- The raw paper sheets are wound onto large rolls to create large rolls of thin sheets of paper.
- The large rolls are then divided, cut into smaller reels and then packed and stored.
- They are ready to be further processed into paper items such as newspapers, cardboard, books, writing paper, and toilet rolls.
What is Paper Recycled into?
What paper can be recycled into depends on the quality of the paper being recycled. Paper is made up of pulp fibres, which shorten each time it is recycled. Paper with shorter fibres is suitable for recycling into tissues, newspapers, and egg cartons.
According to Navigator Paper, the average paper can only be recycled 3-4 times. Navigator copier paper can be recycled up to 7 times, due to it’s high quality raw materials and manufacturing process. The higher the quality of the paper and the fewer times it has been recycled, the better quality product it can be recycled into.
Higher quality paper can be recycled into:
- Birthday cards
- Wrapping paper
- Egg boxes
- Kitchen roll
- Paper bags
- Paper plates
- Food cartons
- Printer paper
- Office paper
- Toilet paper
Fewer Trees, Same Amount of Paper
Although currently, the average tonne of paper uses 24 trees to produce, some forward-thinking paper brands such as Navigator are working hard to try and reduce this. nu: are proud to have partnered with Navigator Copier Paper for distribution into the UK retail market, including their Discovery Paper range.
Navigator use Eucalyptus Globulus fibres to make their paper which, along with their innovative production process, requires up to 46% less wood volume to produce the same amount of paper per meter squared compared with traditional 80gsm sheets.