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What are the benefits of recycling paper?

* Energy - Making recycled paper saves 70% of the energy that would have been used by making paper from trees.

Wow fact: Every tonne of paper used for recycling saves 4200KWh of electricity, which is enough to power a house for 6 months.

* Resources - Every tonne of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees from being cut down, saving wildlife habitats and woodland ecosystems. Forests managed for paper production do not have such a rich wildlife population as ancient woodland.

* Money - Using recycled paper means we are using a local resource from within the UK rather than importing wood pulp and paper from abroad.

Wow fact: All of the newspaper made in the UK is now made from 100% recycled paper.

How is paper recycled?

Watch a video on how paper is recycled in a factory, and another showing how you can make your own recycled paper, or see images of the stages in this process.

Paper is collected from homes by recycling lorries, or from recycling banks by your local council. It is stored in huge piles before another lorry takes it to a paper processing factory.

Wow fact: Two-thirds of paper is recycled in the UK, making it one of the most recycled materials.

The paper is sorted into different types (grades) of paper and delivered to a paper mill. Here the paper is checked for contamination; which is anything not made out of paper. Then the paper is shredded and mixed with water, wood pulp and chemicals to clean off all the writing and pictures. It then forms a pulp which looks like porridge.

The pulp is sprayed, using a wide jet, onto a wide screen forming a watery sheet. The water drains through and the paper fibres bond together. This is then put through big heated rollers which squeeze out the water and make it into the thin paper sheets. The sheets are dried and a coating layer can be added to make paper smooth and glossy.

Wow fact: The sheets are then rolled onto massive rolls as big as a car – each roll weighs 30 tonnes.

The rolls are then cut into smaller reels and wrapped so they can be sold. The paper is then sent to different places where it can be made into newsprint, cardboard, packaging, tissue and office items.

Wow fact - It takes just seven days for paper to be collected for recycling, made into new paper and be on sale as a newspaper in the shops.

N.B. wrapping paper - some councils will accept plain wrapping paper (made from paper) if it does not have glitter, sticky tape or other embellishments on it. However, some wrapping ‘paper’ is not made from paper at all – it is a type of plastic and cannot be recycled.  Before recycling wrapping paper, please make sure your council will accept it.