Paper Recycling for Business Quick Guide

by | Oct 10, 2019

Almost every business has an office and administrative component. Over the years, paper waste has been considered an unavoidable by-product of offices and businesses. This is certainly changing as businesses and consumers become more environmentally mindful. However, paper waste and what to do with it is a worthy consideration for all businesses looking to streamline their business waste management strategy.

What is paper waste?

Paper waste can be broken into three categories. These are:

  • Mill broke: any paper surplus generated in the manufacturing process.
  • Pre-consumer waste: paper products which have left the mill, but which become waste before being used by consumers.
  • Consumer waste: paper products used by consumers and then discarded as waste.


  • The water and electricity saved by paper recycling could power a three-bedroomed house for an entire year.
  • The production of recycled paper is also far greener – requiring between 27% and 70% less energy and water.
  • Around 324 litres of water is used to create one kilogram of paper.
  • It takes in the region of ten litres of water to create one A4 page.
  • 1 tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees, thousands of litres of water and oil.
  • 67% of paper and cardboard used in the UK is recycled.
  • About 18.6 million tonnes of paper is wasted every year when it could have been recycled.
  • A recycled newspaper finds its way back on to the shelves in a period of about seven days.
  • Paper has seven generations. This means it can be recycled seven times before its fibres need to be mixed with new paper fibres to become usable paper.

Paper recycling


Paper recycling is popularly associated with the movement to preserve the world’s forests, but paper recycling can also save around 30 000 litres of water and up to 4000 kWh of electricity.

In the UK, it is becoming increasingly commonplace to see efforts to reduce paper waste. ‘Don’t print this e-mail’ and similar messaging are becoming the norm. On a global scale, however, technology does not necessarily extend everywhere, with many still relying on paper culture for business and operations.

What can be recycled?

Different businesses generate different types of waste paper. Some businesses may create extensive paper waste through packaging and processes, while others will dispose of far less through their office activities. The following are some examples of recyclable paper waste:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Paperbacks
  • Office paper
  • Cardboard

The different paper grades

Paper is graded differently. Newspaper, for instance, is a low-grade paper product as it is usually recycled many times. Printer paper, on the other hand, is usually of a high grade.

The paper recycling process

  1. Your paper waste is collected from your business premises and taken to a recycling plant.
  2. Contaminants are removed and paper is sorted into different grades.
  3. It is shredded, heated, and turned into a plant pulp by the addition of water and chemicals.
  4. It is further treated to remove any glue or plastic residue.
  5. It is treated to remove any ink.
  6. Pulp is sprayed on to a conveyor belt, where the fibres will start to bond.
  7. The paper will be dried by means of heated metal rollers and rolled up.
  8. This final product is recycled paper, which can then be used across a range of applications.

Why your business should consider a waste management company?

  • A major impediment to recycling is ignorance. As straightforward as it may seem, misunderstandings and mistakes around recycling are a regular occurrence. This often leads to contaminated waste and heavier general waste bins. Waste management companies work with businesses to make recycling easy for you and your staff, encouraging a sustainability culture which then extends beyond the workplace.
  • Studies in recent years have shown that morale is better in businesses with a recycling ethos.
  • The heavier your general waste bin, the higher the cost to your business. You may think some scrap paper doesn’t make a meaningful difference to your bills, but it all adds up – and has environmental consequences too. Waste management specialists can advise on your paper waste best practice for cost-effective waste solutions.
  • Partnering with a waste management provider means regular, secure collection. This is a matter of quality, of course. Work with a reputable company for reliability and expertise.
  • Reputable waste management providers also offer the assurance of responsible recycling. This means it will be collected and disposed of ethically.
  • It’s just rubbish, right? Wrong. How you dispose of waste within your business reflects on your attitude towards the environment and sustainability. Taking an active approach to reducing your business’s impact on landfill and reducing your carbon emissions will include what you do with your waste. This, in turn, has the potential to translate into sales as a powerful marketing tool. It can also earn customer loyalty and secure contracts in an age when environmental considerations are more important than ever.

Recycling options from Smarter Business

At Smarter Business, we can dispose of almost any kind of waste. On top of that, our team of commercial waste specialists are passionate about providing tailormade waste solutions to every kind of business.

Dry-mixed recycling

Paper waste can be disposed of through dry-mixed recycling – a process whereby your clean, uncontaminated waste is recycled and repurpose into usable items. The benefits: it is cheaper than general waste collection, it is easily implemented, and it is a simple way to kickstart recycling culture in your business.

Single-stream recycling

If you generate a lot of a particular type of waste, such as paper waste, single stream recycling can be the best recycling option for your business. Through this type of recycling, Smarter Business will do the sorting and cleaning on your behalf – taking the legwork out of recycling at work. The benefits: it is one of the simplest forms of recycling, it removes the needs for cluttered (and expensive) storage, it improves profitability by lessening your landfill burden and expenses.

Contact Smarter Business today to find out what your business can do to for the environment and improve its bottom line.

2024 Energy Market Volatility Strategy | Smarter Business

2024’s Forecasted Energy Price Increases and the Best Way To Save  Energy Market Volatility: Take The Power Back   Wholesale energy market volatility has seen an increase in prices, with projections showing fluctuations for the remainder of the year. With anticipated...

MOP DC/DA For Business Electricity | Smarter Business

Energy Spotlight: MOP DC/DA Contracts  What Are MOPs and DC/DA and Why Are They Important?  Effective metering and timely energy data hold extensive potential benefits for businesses. These include billing accuracy, effective energy efficiency strategies, and costs...

2024 Commercial Energy Price Forecast | Smarter Business UK

2024 Commercial Energy Price Predictions  For business owners, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Will energy prices fall in 2024?” At first glance, we appear to have started strong in 2024 – with a 12% reduction in the short-term energy price forecast according to...

2024 Business Energy, Gas, Water, Facilities Maintenance

Business Energy Tips for a Strong Start In 2024    Insights To Ensure Business Utilities Are New Year Ready  As we take our first steps into the new year, it is the perfect time to get everything in line to start 2024 on the right foot. Take the time to relook at...

2023 Winter Business Energy Savings

Quick Tips for Winter Energy Worries  How To Prevent Winter Energy Woes    As winter approaches, the cost of winter energy – at home and at work – is on everyone’s minds. It’s a good time to scrutinise energy consumption with savings in mind.  The domestic energy...