Paper Recycling FAQs


How Much Paper is Recovered and Recycled in the UK?

The statistics show that the amount of recovered and recycled paper in the UK is rising steadily for over one decade. By the end of year 2011, about 8 million tonnes of paper were recovered of which, however, about one half was exported.

How is Paper Recycled?

The recovered paper is taken to the recycling plants where it is sorted according to different grades and contaminants. Then, it is washed, while the ink is removed with the so-called de-inking process. Once it is free of contaminants, it goes through the actual recycling process which is nearly identical to virgin paper production. The fibres are mixed with water to make slurry. Depending on the end product, various additives and dyes may be added to the slurry. Lastly, the water is removed and the slurry travels thorough large rollers that form it into sheets. When completely dry, the paper rolled up, slit cut into and ready for further use.

How Many Times Can Paper be Recycled?

Unfortunately, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely because the fibres eventually become unsuitable for further use. Generally, a single sheet of paper can be recycled up to 7 times.

What Recycled Paper is Used for?

Recycled paper can be used for the same purposes and products as virgin paper. It can be used to make cardboard, office paper, newspapers, magazines, etc..

How Can Businesses Participate in Paper Recycling?

For a start, begin separating paper from other waste and encourage all employees to take an active part in paper recycling. Also, buy a larger paper bin and arrange a recycling company to pick it up once a week or more often if the bin gets full sooner.

Can Shredded Paper be Recycled?

Yes, shredded paper can be recycled but please dispose it in a larger paper bag or a transparent plastic bag.

Do I Need to Separate Different Types of Paper?

This depends on your local recycling programme. In some areas, separating paper from the rest of the waste is enough but some local recycling programmes also foresee sorting paper into three groups: magazines and coloured paper (for example junk mails), newspapers and white office paper. If you are not sure how to recycle properly, please contact your local authorities for additional information.

What Else Can I Recycle?

In addition to paper, you can also recycle metals, plastic, glass and biodegradable waste. The rest goes into ordinary bins with the exception of hazardous materials such as alkaline batteries, light bulbs, electronics, various chemicals and toxic product containers, etc.. These must be taken to the nearest hazardous waste collection centre.