Recycle – Packaging Paper Doesn’t Have to Go to the landfill

For years, I’ve been advocating that everyone take responsibility for their own recycling. Many people, including some in my organisation, have argued that they don’t need to do anything because they are not environmentally responsible. That’s simply not true. It doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘green’ person or not, recycling is something that needs to be done. The less waste there is in landfills, the less junk we will be sending to landfill sites.

Paper packaging, though, is different. As a soft material, paper packaging is easily recyclable, and local authorities regularly carry out cross-posting, meaning that consumers can recycle paper at home, on their drive, or even at work. The UK government also offers various incentives for consumers who recycle household waste, including lower taxes and free packaging if you do so. So why is paper packaging different?

First of all, paper packaging itself is quite uninspiring. Take out a standard two-pocket bookbag and compare it to one of those great cardboard ones that are used in groceries – the one that comes with its own little compartment in case you want to poke holes in it for the tiniest of bits of food to slip into. The former is lightweight, easy to carry, but no bargain. You pay more for that quality paper packaging than you would for the latter. It’s a tradeoff you’ll definitely have to weigh up.

But paper packaging isn’t the only reason why it is unsuitable for recycling. Recycling experts point out that a lot of food packaging, including cartons, boxes and tins, is made from old paper which is no longer suitable for human consumption. So you’ve paid the price for recyclability and done nothing but recoup your investment. If there is a problem, as there inevitably will be with paper, it’s in the sorting process.

The way in which paper bags are sorted is by a machine which looks at the characteristics of each bag. Bags which are more wrinkled, more worn or have some kind of tear can’t be recycled because they won’t decompose and release their contents into the environment. The sorting machine also takes other factors into account, such as colour and texture. In some cases, sorting machines are so designed that they can also separate paper bags from tin cans, plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

That’s where polythene bags come in. They are a great way of making sure that all your paper products can be recycled. The bags have been specifically designed for the paper recycling process and so are almost 100% recyclable. This means that you will make a big saving on the paper recycling process when you use these. It also makes it easier for you to separate your recyclables.

Wrap materials are usually recyclable as well but some of them aren’t. For example, glass packaging can’t really be recycled because it’s too breakable. However, wrapping paper and plastic bags is recyclable, you just need to separate the paper from the plastic and then seal them back up to store them away for future use. So the next time you’re wondering how you’re going to recycle some packaging, consider the options above and you’ll find that it’s easier than you might have first thought.

As mentioned above, it’s not only packaging paper that can be recycled but cardboard and plastic as well. If you’re worried about the environment, you could think about packing your food in cardboard boxes and putting your produce in a container that’s been specially made for this purpose. These can be found at most garden centers and they’re very cost effective. It might even be worth considering using a curbside recycling bin to take everything else for your home, rather than leaving it all in your vehicle. There’s still a lot of ways you can help the environment and your own health by going recycling and getting everything you can out of every item you can get rid of in your car and then doing your bit for the environment while you’re at it.