What is paper made from?

Paper is made from wood that has been chopped into very small pieces and made into a paste called pulp. Chemicals are added to the pulp which is then spread out thinly and dried to become paper.

What are the benefits of recycling paper?

  • Saves energy – recycling paper saves 70% of the energy that would have been used making paper from trees.
  • Saves our trees – every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees from being cut down.

Wow fact: All of the newspaper in the UK is made from 100% recycled paper. It is one of our most recycled materials.

How is paper recycled?

  • Paper is collected from homes and recycling banks, it is stored in huge piles before being taken to a ‘paper processing factory’.
  • Paper is then sorted into different types and delivered to a paper mill. Anything that is not made from paper is removed, then the paper is shredded and mixed with water, wood pulp and cleaning chemicals. The pulp that is formed looks like porridge!
  • The pulp is sprayed onto a big screen forming a watery sheet. It then passes through massive heated rollers which squeeze out all of the water, creating thin paper sheets. A layer is added to make the paper smooth or glossy.
  • The massive rolls are cut into smaller reels so they can be packaged and sent away to be used again.

Where can you recycle paper?

All councils in Devon collect paper for recycling. To find out more about what and where you can recycle in your area click here.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping ‘paper’ is often not made from paper at all – it is a type of plastic that cannot be recycled. Take the ‘scrunch test‘ and work out if your wrapping paper can be recycled. Before recycling wrapping paper you have to check it is made from plain paper and has no glitter or sticky tape on. Find out if your district will take your wrapping paper for recycling here.


To find out more about our paper making workshop click here.