We throw away more paper and card than we do any other material.
Experts reckon that we get through 12.5 million tonnes of paper every year. If we recycled all of it, Britain would save itself millions of pounds in money, as well as enough energy to power about half the houses in the UK!
We’ve known for years that it makes sense to recycle our used paper, but the sad fact is that about half is either wasted by being sent to landfill to be buried in the ground, or by being burned and being lost forever.
Did you know:
- Virtually every newspaper is now printed on recycled paper. It takes less than a week from throwing an old newspaper in the bin for it to reappear as a newspaper again. With an estimated 7,000,000 newspapers printed every day in Britain, that’s an awful lot of paper.
- A very old joke used to go: “What’s the worst thing in the world? Second hand toilet paper!” – Now virtually all toilet paper is made from recycled paper (though probably not recycled toilet paper, and it’s best not to think about that. But it ends up composted.)
- Most cardboard is now made from recycled paper
And why should we recycle paper? It’s simple – it saves us from cutting down trees to make new paper. You need an average of 17 trees to make a tonne of paper, and despite trying to use as much recycled paper as possible, Britain’s demand for paper results in about 8,000 square miles of trees being cut down every year.
While it’s terrible to cut down all those trees, many manufacturers make sure that their paper is sustainable. That means for every tree that’s cut down to make paper, a new one is planted. By using managed forests, there is a steady stream of trees growing that will one day become paper without losing the total acreage of trees.
But it’s cheaper and easier to recycle old paper than to make new paper from scratch. We save the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of over three million cars by recycling paper.