How much paper can we recycle?
In 2020 the European paper recycling rate reached 74% - that’s 370 sheets out of a ream of 500 sheets of paper! Each one of those sheets being recycled keeps fibres in the loop for longer.
So how much can we achieve? Can we get to 100%? No, not everything can or will be recycled. Single use paper such as tissue and hygiene paper gets contaminated and can't be recycled. Then some paper is kept for a long time, things like books and legal documents are kept or archived and therefore aren't put back into the loop, at least, not in the short or medium term. So in reality, the practical maximum recycling rate for the moment is thought to be around 80% of all paper.
Paper also can't be recycled forever because fibres get worn down and become too short to be used to create new paper. They can of course be turned into other products, but virgin tree fibres are required to continue the paper cycle, and needless to say, these are sourced from sustainable and renewable FSC managed forests.
We rightly think of wood pulp as the raw material that makes paper, however recycled paper is turned back into pulp and essentially becomes a raw material itself. When mixed with water, and cleaned of ink and other contaminants, the paper returns to a pulp which can be used to create 100% recycled paper or mixed with virgin fibres if a different quality is required. Another benefit is that this requires less energy and power to turn to paper compared with the process virgin fibres go through.
However, as mentioned above, you can't continuously recycle paper so as long there is a demand for paper, some virgin fibres will always be required. Yes that means cutting down trees, but if we can maintain and improve our recycling rate this will keep deforestation to the minimum.
We stock a wide range of FSC certified and recyled paper so if you have a requirement for bulk paper, call us today on 0117 961 9049.
For more details or a free quotation please feel free to contact us