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Recycling paper & cardboard: a quick guide

Recycling is the process of converting used materials into something new, keeping products away from a landfill, for longer.

Both paper and cardboard can be valuable recycled materials. It helps extends the product life cycle and has a positive effect on the environment….

Recycling Cardboard

The most common cardboard you’ll come across will be corrugated board, as well as the cardboard that’s used for food and drink packaging. This will include items like boxes for cereal, egg boxes, and cartons from online deliveries. Most of the packaging like this will be recyclable, but consumers should always check with their local authority.

Don’t forget…

  • You can’t recycle soiled cardboard that contains food, paint or dirt
  • You should remove materials like packing tape, polystyrene inserts or void fill from cardboard packaging for recycling
  • Check your online shopping boxes for staples or stitching – these might need to be remove prior to recycling
  • Any greeting cards you receive that have glitter on can’t be recycled either
  • You can home compost some cardboard, so it doesn’t always have to go in your kerbside recycling

Recycling Paper

Just like cardboard, you can easily recycle paper, but it must be clean when it enters the recycling stream. Safe paper products you can recycle include:

  • News papers
  • Magazines & brochures
  • White and brown paper (like computer paper or parcel packing)
  • Shredded paper
  • Envelopes

A good tip is to scrunch some paper – if it doesn’t spring back, it can be recycled.

Don’t forget…

  • You can’t recycle soiled paper – just like cardboard. This includes paper contaminated with grease, like your take away wrappers
  • Foiled paper, like shiny gift wrap, shouldn’t be put in your recycling
  • You can’t recycle anything like cotton wool, make up pads, wipes and sanitary products

How are paper and cardboard recycled?

When paper and cardboard are collected for recycling, they’ll be sent to a recycling plant for sorting. Both materials will be sorted in to different grades ready for processing.

Next, materials will be washed to remove inks, adhesives and other substances that could contaminate the new paper. After washing, your recycling is turned into a slurry, which is combined with various materials to make new cardboard, news paper reels or even office paper.

 Helping your customers recycle

If you use any sort of paper or cardboard packaging in your business, it’s important to let your customers know how to recycle them. Currently, many consumers aren’t sure what can be recycled. Clearly labelling your packaging, so consumers know what can be recycled, will be a big help and will contribute to your responsible business practices.

For more information or advice about your packaging, get in touch with our team. Call 01902 496 666 or email