What does your paper recycling get turned into?


I’ve been working flat out this morning, visiting residents around the borough and helping them to recycle as much as they can. I really love that part of my job, people are always stunned by the amount of items that are recyclable – usually around 85% of your bin!

Today I thought I’d focus on paper recycling…what you can recycle and what happens to it once we pick it up from your kerbside.

We all have paper in our homes, whether it’s an egg box, newspaper, cereal packet or that pizza menu pushed through your letterbox. But have you ever wondered what happens to your paper and cardboard recycling that has been collected? Well, it gets made into new paper products such as newspapers, cardboard boxes and toilet paper.

Take just over a minute to watch this short video I’ve worked on with my colleagues, it’s about our paper recycling journey:

The main problem with paper is that it’s not all the same type of paper and it can contain items like plastic from window envelopes, staples and stamps all mixed in.

We start by collecting it together, baling it up and transporting it to the processing centre. Here it basically goes into a big drum that spins the paper with warm water – turning it into a pulp called a ‘slurry’. The slurry is then passed over a series of big sieves called ‘screens’ that remove any contaminates like staples or plastic windows from envelopes. It is then passed through some finer screens. There are different grades of slurry. The cleanest goes to make office and fine papers and the lower-grade to make things like newspaper and toilet paper – this all happens in just 7 days!

In Colchester, we use clear bags for recycling our paper and cardboard. Our crews will collect it every two weeks – on a Green Week. If you’d like to find out more about what you can and can’t recycle, check the full list on our website here.

If you run out and need more clear recycling bags you can just pick up a roll (for free) at one of the stockists.

Keeeeeep recycling!

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