Shredded paper being recycled

The act of recycling paper, and giving it a new lease of life, has been around for a long time now. However, it has recently seen a new push thanks to the increased overall awareness of recycling in general, and the impact it has on our environment. So, why should we recycle and what happens to the paper when we do? Take a look below to learn more about recycling paper with these top facts!

Recycling Helps to Lower Pollution

The United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) has found that recycling paper causes 35% less water pollution, and also 74% less air pollution, as opposed to making a piece of paper from scratch. It also uses 70% less energy than the amount that is needed to create a new piece.

Recycled Paper has Endless Possibilities

Did you know that when you recycle your paper, it can be turned into paper towels, egg cartons and even tissue paper? There are plenty of options to give recycled paper a second life. Some recycled cardboard is even strong enough to be made into furniture. Due to the low cost and versatility of cardboard, designers and furniture brands alike are looking to experiment with producing both functional and stylish creations. From storage cubes and book cases to tables and chairs, the sky is the limit when using recycled paper.

Not All Paper is Equal Game for Recycling

Stacks of recycled paper

Paper isn’t universally recyclable, and it all depends on what it is mixed with, which can get confusing. Paper receipts are not actually recyclable because they contain more than one material and not only that, they could also potentially contain potentially harmful BPA and BPS chemicals, which would not be safe for their second life! This is a similar situation for wrapping paper, yet another paper that is mixed with different materials that are actually non-recyclable like certain plastics, dyes and glitter.

Parchment paper cannot be recycled either if it has been used on at home for cooking. Any left-over oil or food remnants renders parchment paper non-recyclable. This rule is the same for some types of plastics and card too, as food is labelled as a contaminate in recycling.

However, glossy magazines can be recycled, which may come as a surprise considering they aren’t ‘straight forward paper’. So, always check what can be recycled, even if you think it probably cannot be! Thankfully, more and more work is being done to reduce the amount of waste heading into landfill. Although this list of ‘bad’ papers may seem long, there is so much that can be recycled!

How Long Have We Been Recycling For?

In the UK, recycling has been a tradition for over 100 years now. It began around the same time that the British paper industry created the de-inking method, which allowed them to remove ink and similar contaminants from recycled paper.

It Takes Around Seven Days for paper to be Recycled

Typically, it takes just seven days for paper to be recycled. This means that every other week, recycled newspapers are being produced with the same paper as two weeks previous. This is such a short amount of time considering the separation of paper, washing and reconstruction have to be carried out, before it is even turned into a brand new product.

Paper Waste Around the Home

Map of the world printed on paper

There are some items around the home that you think you would be able to recycle because they are paper. However, objects such as paper straws and sticky notes come with their own flaws which make them difficult to recycle. Contaminants such as the glue strip on the back of the sticky note, and the thickness of paper straws that is needed to make them effective as straws mean they cannot be recycled as a whole product. McDonald’s recently came under fire for their announcement to customers saying that the straws should be thrown into general waste, rather than recycled. However, it has be said that although the material the straws are made out of is recyclable, the processes and infrastructure aren’t in place to manage these products, something we hope to see change soon!

How Much Paper Do We Use?

It takes a forest the size of Wales to provide paper in the UK every single year. Statistics from 2011 show that over 78% of paper in the UK is recovered and recycled, which is brilliant, and also the highest amongst the EU. The UK also has a utilisation rate of recovered paper at 88%, which is above the standard EU 50%.

Here at Brightsea, we are committed as a company to reduce our environmental impact, prevent any avoidable pollution and become more energy efficient. Choose us for your printing in Exeter for peace of mind!

Get in touch today to be sent a copy of our new eco printing brochure which tells you all about our green credentials and how we are taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint.