Paper Recycling Facts

16 Mar 2013
HomeEnvironmentReportsPaper Recycling Facts

Many of us take paper recycling for granted. With most councils collecting a variety of types of paper alongside regular refuse collection, recycling has never been easier. The process is often as simple as just chucking everything into a box and leaving it kerbside. However, there are many interesting facts about paper recycling here in the UK.

  • Paper recycling is almost as old as paper itself. The earliest papers were often made from recycled materials such as old fabric.
  • Recovered paper falls into 60 different grades.These 60 grades fall into five categories – ordinary, medium, high, kraft, and special: 


Paper Recycling FactsOrdinary grades include mixed paper, mixed newspaper and magazines, corrugated paper, and other short-fibre papers
Medium grades include unsold newspapers that do not have inserts, sorted office paper, white books, and continuous computer paper
High grades are mainly white paper, such as computer paper and other office stationery, though can include some coloured paper and boards
Kraft grades include brown packaging materials and boxes
Special grades are mainly mixed papers that would be uneconomic to sort into other grades


  • The British Waste Paper Association was formed in 1921 with the aim of developing the trade in waste paper. A group with a similar aim, the Independent Waste Paper Processors Association, was formed in 1975 to promote the use of recyclable papers in the UK.
  • Paper recycling and reuse has been considered a matter of global welfare and national security. In addition to the environmental benefits of recycling, the National Salvage Campaign was launched in 1939 as part of the wartime efforts in Britain. Its efforts continued throughout the 1940s, including the production of a film trailer, and it ended in 1950.
  • Businesses are required to deal responsibly with their waste. As part of this duty of care, recycling must be considered, and businesses must ensure that the companies they use to deal with their waste are fully licensed.
  • The UK has one of the highest waste paper reuse rates. With 88% of recovered paper used in paper production, it is significantly above the EU average of 50.7%.


With over 4,300,000 tonnes of paper products produced in the UK each year, ensuring that waste paper is recycled is extremely important. For many businesses, it is also necessary to take steps to ensure that confidential data on paper is correctly destroyed. By using a company such as Assured Security Shredding, you can be certain that your data is destroyed and your waste paper is completely recycled.

Images in this post by Mike Hotston