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Does Paper Recycling Really Help the Environment?
/ Categories: August

Does Paper Recycling Really Help the Environment?


The modern business needs to be many things – efficient, productive, profitable to name a few.  There is also a big emphasis on being ‘green’ and doing what you can for the environment as part of your business activities.  Reducing your business carbon footprint and using fewer resources are aspirations that businesses now include in their mission statements.  One of the mainstays of this is the idea of paper recycling – but does it really help the environment?


Paper recycling

While the green credentials of paper recycling are relatively new, the idea of recycling your old paper isn’t.  Papermaking and recycling paper both started to travel around the world together as people realised that this precious new material could also be recycled into something else.  In 1800, an English papermaker called Matthias Koops was given a patent for paper recycling to extract ink from paper then make the paper into pulp.

His mill that opened the next year was the first in the world to make paper from something other than cotton and linen-rags – to make it from other paper.  His success was short-lived as the mill closed two years later but his idea lasted much longer.


How recycling helps the environment

The UK uses over 12 million tonnes of paper a year and over two-thirds of this are recycled.  Recycling paper can have some heavy environmental benefits that make it worth considering for all businesses.

For starters, recycling paper means you help to reduce gas emissions that play a strong part in climate change.  This is because recycling means there is less demand for new paper, involving cutting down trees, transporting the wood and making the paper.

It uses 70% less energy and water to recycle paper than to create new paper from trees.  Manufacturing that uses recovered paper also cuts down on pollution that leads to smog and health problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that recycling just one ton of paper says 17 trees and over 3 cubic yards of landfill space.


How to make sure you recycle safely

One of the big issues for business is that the paper being recycled often contains sensitive, personal information for clients or employees.  This means there is a potential for a data security problem if this isn’t handled correctly.

The easiest way to ensure the paper is recycled but that it is also handled safely is to work with companies offering shredding services.  With this kind of service, the documents are either taken off the premises to be securely shredded or are even shredded on-site. This ensures the paper is reduced to unreadable sections and then can be taken for recycling without any concerns about anyone accessing the data it contains.


Putting recycling into action

Once you have a plan to recycle your paper safely, then it is important to get everyone involved.  Some companies even have ‘eco-friendly awareness days’ or other fun ways to staff to get in the habit of recycling.  Shredding companies also provide paperwork to show how many trees have been saved by recycling to help motivate staff.

Ensuring everyone understands where documents with confidential data are stored for shredding is also important.  This means that papers are placed in the right box or bin for the shredding company to collect and there’s no chance someone outside the business gets their hands on information from the documents.

Recycling paper can be the first step in making the business eco-friendlier and more ‘green’.  There are other measures to put into place such as recycling other waste and looking at environmentally friendly products for supplies.  And this can be a big benefit for the business and its carbon footprint.

Give us a call at 0800 376 4422 or fill out our form to find out how we can help with paper recycling with our document shredding services.