Newspaper waste disposal and recycling

Who invented newspapers?

The first English printing press was introduced by William Caxton in 1476 and the first newspapers were distributed across Britain by the early 16th-century.

paper recycling

Newspaper disposal

Paper is an incredibly valuable material that can be recyclable, but only when it’s clean. You need to remove any plastic wrappings from your newspapers so that you can recycle the newspapers accordingly.

Problems with newspaper waste

Paper and pulp is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of water, air and soil. Chlorine-based bleaches are often used during production, which causes toxic materials to be released into our air, water and soil. Additionally, when paper rots, it released methane gas, which is approximately 25 times more hazardous and toxic than carbon dioxide. 

Facts about newspapers

– On average, paper materials, including newspapers, take between two and ten weeks before they biodegrade. This, however, depends on their thickness.

– In a regular working week, 54% of adults aged between 18-24 read newspapers.

– The UK’s oldest daily national newspaper is The Times, which was founded as the Daily and Universal Register back in 1785 before it changed its name officially in 1788 to The Times.

What type of waste is newspaper waste

Newspaper waste is categorised as post-consumer waste. This is inclusive of any paper material that’s been received and used by a consumer, after which it is discarded.

What materials are newspapers made from?

Newspapers are made from non-archival and low-cost papers that consist mainly of wood pulp and are most frequently used to print publications, newspapers, and advertising material.

Newspapers are usually printed on newsprint, which is an uncoated ground-wood paper that is made by mechanically grinding wood pulp without removing lignin and other wood elements.

What are some eco-friendly alternatives to newspaper disposal?

Almost all forms of non-treated and clean paper, including newspapers, can be composted. The dry material can help balance the ratio of “brown” (nitrogen-rich) and “green” (carbon-rich) materials in the pile of papers. Since most newspapers are printed with inks that are plant-based, you don’t have to worry about the ink contaminating your compost.

If you have an organic garden or are anxious about non-organic inks seeping into your pile, we suggest you check your local newspaper’s website or send them an email about the type of ink they use.

Alternatively, you could try the dig a hole method in composting. This is simply when you dig a one-foot hole in your back garden, after which you slowly add your newspaper. Finally, you cover the hold with some bricks or a board until it’s full.

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

Reuse newspaper in crafts

Recycled newspaper can be used in a range of crafty applications – be it a decoupaged tabletop or a picture frame mat. Put simply, you can reuse, re-work and repurpose your newspaper for a range of crafts, including old books and map pages among others. 

Recycle your newspapers

The only time that you cannot recycle paper-based materials is when they’re contaminated or coated with plastics. Thankfully, newspapers are usually not coated with plastic materials, so they tend to be recyclable.

The top contaminants of newspapers include the following:

• Food materials
• Body fluid like blood
• Chemicals
• Paints
• Coffee
• Oil or grease

When any of these materials contaminate your newspapers, it could be impossible to recycle them. This is because when newspapers are recycled, they’re made into new materials. Once they’re contaminated, it’s almost impossible to take the contaminant out. For example, if your newspapers are contaminated with blood, there’s a health risk to the public if they’re recycled to make other products.

Contact our expert and friendly team for all your newspaper waste disposal and recycling needs.

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