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Thursday 24th September 2020

Here at Paper Round we have always been advocators of source separation. From our inception in 1988 collecting white paper from offices, to present day with our wide offering of separate collection schemes such as food, glass, and coffee cups. High quality recycling is in our DNA.   

But for all of you recycling aficionados, we are calling for you to go one step further.  

This week, we are asking for you to get your #paperout! 

Good quality paper which is clean and dry can be transformed simply and efficiently into new paper and board products. However, when paper is mixed with other materials, like plastics or food, its value is quickly degraded because it becomes damp and dirty. 

Why does quality count?

According to our friends at the Confederation of Paper Industries there are four main reasons why high-quality paper is so important: 

1. Environmental impact 

If paper is contaminated and poor quality, the paper plant is likely to send it back to the sorting facility for further sorting or send it directly to landfill or incineration and its value will be lost. This is a huge waste of resources and energy.  

2. Impact on finished product 

A good input product = a good end-product. Paper made from contaminated papers may compromise the end-product quality in terms of its strength, print quality or visual presentation and may not be accepted by customers. In some cases, this may mean an entire batch of finished paper is rejected by a customer.  

3. Impact on machinery 

Paper machines run at 40-60mph and when foreign objects, or contaminants enter this process they can cause serious harm. Shutting down a paper machine can cost up to £100,000 per hour! 

4. Economic impact 

Poor quality paper is often exported abroad, transferring the costs of UK waste streams to other countries who may not have as sophisticated waste treatment facilities.  

Why should you care about it? 

- The value of paper is easily ruined by contaminants like food, glass and oil which are commonly found in mixed streams. By keeping it separate, you’re ensuring it can get a second life – contributing to the circular economy 

- It can be more cost-effective. Paper only streams are cheaper than Paper, Cans & Plastic Containers (Mixed Recycling) as they do not need to be sorted and can be sent straight for recycling  

- Demonstrate to your peers that you really care about sustainability – put your words into actions. 

- The UK Government are encouraging it. In 2019 the Gov released Our waste; our resources to help meet their 25 Year Environment Plan. It sets out how they will preserve stock of resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency, and moving towards a circular economy. In this, they state that ‘Greater collection of glass separate from paper and separate food waste collections would also help to improve quality’

We do understand this is not always possible, with space or logistical challenges, so we do still offer a Paper, Plastic and Cans & Plastic Containers mixed stream. Read more about this stream here.  

There is lots of evidence pointing towards source separation as the best foot forward. By making #OneGreatDecision today, you could be helping to preserve resources for tomorrow.

Tweet us @Paperround using the hashtags #Togetherwerecycle #recyclingweseparate to get involved with our #RecycleWeek activities 

Jessica Parrilla

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