How to dispose and recycle catalogues

While online shopping seems to get more and more popular each year, there is still a lot of merit behind traditional shopping methods, such as ordering through catalogues and brochures. 100.7 million shoppers purchased products through a catalogue in 2019. As a result, you can imagine that large volumes of catalogue waste are produced annually – in the UK and beyond.

paper recycling

What type of waste are catalogues?

Catalogues and brochures are a form of paper waste that can typically be stored and disposed of alongside the rest of your recyclables.

Who invented catalogues?

While they are now primarily used as a form of advertisement for companies, historians believe that the first catalogue was published in Venice in 1498. The product was designed by Aldus Pius Manutius, who created various translations of traditional Greek and Latin classics in this new format.

What are catalogues made from, and how are they made

What materials are catalogues made from?

Catalogues are typically made from paper, which is sometimes coated in chemicals such as calcium carbonate and bentonite to give it a shiny, glossy finish. The pieces are held together with glue or staples made from steel wiring.

How are they made?

Before catalogues are made, they are often designed digitally. Then designs are then sent to a printing or manufacturing company, where:

    The designs are printed onto high-quality paper.
    The sheets of paper are then layered on top of each other by a machine. They are then stapled, stitched or glued together accordingly.
    The catalogues are fed through a secondary machine, where they are cut down to their desired size, typically A4 paper size.

Catalogue disposal.

How do you dispose of catalogues?

Despite popular misconceptions, catalogues can be disposed of alongside the rest of your recyclables. When disposing of catalogues, you should:

Store them in the appropriate containers, such as a paper recycling bin. You do not need to remove any staples ahead of time as they are removed during the recycling process itself.

Arrange for the waste to be collected by a licenced waste carrier.


What happens to catalogues after they have been put in the bin?

If you have thrown catalogues away with the rest of your recyclables, they will be separated and stored with similar products such as magazines and brochures before disposal. These products are then run through a machine that shreds the paper before mixing it with water to create a form of pulp. During this time, any staples are extracted from the mix. The pulp is then cleaned, which removes any ink and dye from the mixture alongside any additional contaminants. The pulp can then be used to create other paper-based products.

Alternatives to catalogues.

While catalogues are still an excellent way for companies to drive sales, they do not always result in success. As a result, companies must look into more sustainable alternatives that do not produce large quantities of paper waste. For example, online catalogues and sales sites are often just as effective as a printed catalogue.

Can you do anything with catalogues instead of throwing them away?

While it may not seem as though catalogues serve any purpose once they have been used (or a new catalogue is introduced by the same company), these products can be used for various craft projects. If you don’t fancy putting your artistic flair to the test, you could also donate them to local schools or educational facilities, where they can be used for scrapbooking or collage making. Finally, paper products can be shredded and used in composting.

How many catalogues are there?

While the exact figures for the number of catalogues produced each year is unclear, a recent report from retail dive found that billions of these products are mailed out each year across the world.

How many catalogues are there in landfills?

As little as 20% of magazines (and similar products, such as catalogues) are recycled in the UK.

Facts about catalogues.

Catalogues are ‘deinked’ during the recycling process, which removes all colour and ink from the pulp. This means that they can be used to create pristine, white paper again.

Where can you take catalogues to recycle/dispose of them for free?

As mentioned previously, you can dispose of catalogues alongside the rest of your dry mixed recycling – which often means they do not incur any extra costs when it comes to disposal. Alternatively, you can drop them off at your local supermarket’s waste collections

What would you like to learn next?

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