Waste Less Paper & Card

In November and December we looked at how to waste less paper and card.

Back to the current campaign on Waste Less Electricals.

Did you know over 50% of what householders in West Sussex recycle at home is paper and card? That is seven times more than the plastics we receive each month. Although plastic trays can be much bigger, they weigh far less, and our recycling is based on weight. That makes these materials very important to us, and we need them to be of the best quality, so that we can meet our stringent market requirements.

Keep it dry

Want to waste less? The very best thing you can do is to keep it dry. We cannot recycle wet paper or card, so protecting it from rain in the winter months is key. Once it enters our materials recycling facility and goes into the automated sorting system, it drops onto the first conveyor with all your other recyclables. In turn, they enter our trommel which spins everything around. The trommel is full of different sized holes for the items to fall through, but as paper is a larger item it is one of the last to fall out. If it's soggy, it will have things stuck to it by that point, especially tiny fragments of glass. So the paper has to be thrown away and the glass that's stuck to it doesn't get recycled either.

In the run up to Christmas last year you recycled a fantastic 6,700 tonnes of paper and card - and that was just from your homes! We saw a lot more coming through our Household Waste Recycling Sites; the biggest month for cardboard at the sites was December last year. Not surprising perhaps, as we have seen the rise of internet shopping and Christmas is just around the corner.

Close the loop

The biggest online retailers have whole sections of their websites dedicated to how they are improving their packaging. In recent years much of it has shrunk in size, and the most well known of all the online stores now dispatches its goods in corrugated containers, produced from 100% recovered fibre content, and they are 100% recyclable. So if you're planning on shopping from the comfort of your sofa, why not use your consumer power and choose companies with ethical packaging.

The same goes for buying anything for the festive season, be it Christmas cards, wrapping paper, paper cups, gift bags - check they are made from recycled paper (if you buy recycled, then recycle again, you are helping to close the loop) and if you can, avoid anything with glitter or the kind of paper that is shiny and metallic because we can't recycle it.

Re-use your leftovers

Every Christmas we are surrounded by a mountain of paper and gift bags, but before you recycle them you might want to consider reusing them first.

- wrapping paper that is simply too nice to throw away, can be folded and saved for smaller gifts, like stocking fillers, another year.
- pretty coloured paper can be shredded and used in place of bubble wrap to protect gifts being sent by post.
- most gift bags are still in great condition, so just pull off the label and save for next year.
- any gift bags which are a bit battered, cut out the best bits to use as gift tags.

And if like us (!) you did all this last Christmas, don't forget to dig out what you saved before you buy any more!

Every room counts

Most of us have our recycling bins in our kitchens; nothing new there. But if we can we tend to place small waste bins in the bathroom, bedroom and study, so why don't we add a small bin (or bag) to other rooms in the house in which to throw our recyclables?

We are losing items that could be recycled, simply because we don't think to recycle form other rooms around the home, or we may not recognise that an item can be recycled.

In the bathroom, think about those toothpaste boxes, toothbrush packets, aftershave packaging, loo rolls, face cream boxes; in the bedroom, how about tissue boxes, shoe boxes, magazines, pamphlets; in the kitchen, cereal boxes, kitchen rolls, foil and baking paper boxes and tubes, cake boxes, egg boxes, microwave meal cardboard packaging. In the study, there are probably letters, envelopes, newspapers and packaging from printer cartridges, pens and packs of paper.

Want more information? Visit www.recycleforwestsussex.org.uk/