July 04, 2024

Paper Recycling: How Does it Help the Environment?

An increasing number of organisations are recognising the environmental and business benefits of recycling their waste. According to the government-funded Recycle Now initiative, the UK uses about 12.5 million tonnes of paper each year and some 67% of the paper and cardboard used in the UK is recycled. Here we take a look at the positive impact of recycled paper, and how you can implement a recycling policy without risking any of your company’s sensitive information.

The Benefits of Paper Recycling

The environment is the big winner! Just some of the benefits of recycling paper include:

  • Recycling paper helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that can contribute to climate change.
  • It takes 70% less energy and water to recycle paper than to create new paper from trees. Manufacturing with recovered paper cuts down on pollution that contributes to smog (and ill health).
  • Best of all, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

How To Reduce Paper Waste in The Office

1. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Develop a green office policy that champions the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. Focus on reducing paper consumption, for example by setting all printers to default double-sided printing or consider removing all paper cups from the coffee machine and asking staff to bring their own mug from home.

2. Recycling For All Departments

To maximise on all office recycling opportunities, integrate recycling into all departments – from purchasing (purchase only recycled paper) to human resources (employees should be mindful of paper consumption) to materials management (paper should be securely disposed of).

3. Think About Information Security

Carefully consider the link between paper recycling and information security. Crime in the workplace is on the rise, and in many cases, the guilty party works for the company so those documents sitting in a recycling bin or waiting in large clear plastic bags by the lift are a magnet for data thieves. Status reports, invoices, performance reviews or even meeting notes can all be sensitive information an unscrupulous individual can use against you, your business and of course, your clients. Consider introducing a shred-all policy with shredding services so all documents are shredded when they are no longer needed.

4. Choose Professional Shredding

Partner with a professional document destruction provider that has a secure chain of custody including locked bins for documents and secure shredding and shipping for recycling. Shredding is easy as you do not need to sort your paper, remove staples, paperclips or other bindings beforehand, as these will easily pass through an industrial shredder and be filtered out during the recycling process.

5. Share the Results!

Share the results of recycling efforts with employees. To drive engagement, consider running a ‘Eco Office Awareness Day’ focusing on the financial and environmental benefits of recycling. Some shredding companies provide Environmental Certificates that show how many trees have been saved.

In conclusion, paper recycling stands as a powerful tool for both environmental conservation and business sustainability. 

By embracing recycling practices, organisations not only mitigate their environmental footprint but also reap significant cost savings and enhance their corporate social responsibility image. With careful implementation of recycling policies and secure document disposal measures, companies can effectively contribute to a greener future while safeguarding sensitive information, ensuring a win-win scenario for both the planet and business integrity.