Paper recycling has been in use in the UK since the 19th Century when demand for paper suddenly increased due to the interest in books and magazines from authors such as Charles Dickens.
In the last two decades, paper recycling has increased by up to 90% and will continue to rise as board made from paper replaces display units and packaging in supermarkets and manufacturing.
Environmentally Friendly Paperboard
As a natural sustainable product, board made from recycled paper is ecologically beneficial. The paper recycling process releases over 70% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than when new wood pulp is used. Recycling just one tonne saves enough electricity to run an average household for six months. In the Middle Ages, the UK was densely packed with trees but now around only 12% is covered by forests. One estimate cites that if only half the world’s consumption of paper was recycled, up to 20 million acres of woodland would be spared. Seventeen mature trees are saved every time paper is manufactured from one tonne of recycled material. One mature tree has to be felled to provide just 230 newspapers. The newspaper industry currently uses high amounts of recycled paper, displaying the percentage alongside the recycling symbol.
Packaging made from recycled paper board accounts for just over 41% of the total amount of paper products in use, a figure that is certain to rise. Cardboard packaging is incredibly versatile, creating strong boxes of any shape or size. Some types of paper board contain up to 100% of recycled paper, drastically reducing the carbon footprint, saving trees and energy as it is recycled over and over.
International Paper Recycling
With the current awareness of environmental issues, many countries have been making great progress in reducing waste by recycling, particularly of paper. Data constantly needs updating but recent figures are as follows:
- United Kingdom – 89%
- Australia – 84%
- European Union – 72%
- United States – 68%
Material for recycling comes from three sources:
- Mill Broke – excess waste from the manufacture of paper goods
- Pre-Consumer – unused surplus paper such as unsold magazines
- Post-Consumer – used paper and packaging
Recycled paperboard is often remanufactured as packaging for cereal boxes while office grade paper becomes tissues and kitchen towels. Recycled paper board is versatile, economic and reusable, reducing energy consumption and saving trees.