As a nation we get through 12 million tonnes of paper each year and the average family in the UK throws away six trees worth of paper every year. Most people recycle their paper and cardboard helping to save natural resources and reduce energy consumption.
Why is it important to recycle paper?
When we recycle our paper, we use less energy compared to cutting down trees for ‘new’, raw’ or ‘virgin’ materials to create new paper-based items. Recycling reduces our carbon emissions by 20% which helps prevent climate change.
All of your paper can be recycled, whatever colour, shape or size, as long as it’s dry.
How is paper recycled?
All councils in Wales collect paper for recycling and most of us recycle our paper using this service.
Around 80% of paper that’s produced in the UK is created using recycled content. The paper and card collected from your home is first separated into different types and grades. It is then pulped with water and chemicals to separate the fibres and screened to remove inks, plastic film, paper clips, staples and glue.
After cleaning, colouring agents may be added before a mixture of 1% pulp and 99% fibre is sprayed on to a fast-moving mesh which forms the sheet and removes the water. The sheet is pressed to remove water and then rolled and heated to achieve the correct moisture content and thickness.
How is recycled paper used?
The recycled paper is wound on to huge rolls before being cut and dispatched to make new paper products including cardboard, newspaper and writing paper. It may also be used to produce items such as labels, bags and gift cards.