In the UK we go through 12.5 million tonnes of paper a year. That adds up to a forest the size of Wales! Thankfully we also recycle 80% of that. But how do we know which types of paper we should be putting in the blue bin?

These are the most common items that you can put in the paper recycling:

  • Magazines, newspapers and cards (without glitter, foil or plastic on them)
  • Corrugated card
  • Printer paper
  • Envelopes including those with windows

If you are unsure of whether a type of paper can be recycled, try the scrunch test. If you scrunch a piece of paper in your hand and it doesn’t bounce back after you let go of it, it’s recyclable. If it bounces back to its original shape, it likely contains plastics and shouldn’t be thrown in the blue bin. 

What kinds of paper cannot be recycled?

As a rule of thumb, and paper that looks shiny probably contains plastic and shouldn’t be recycled. The same goes for soiled paper, pizza boxes and paper plates with food stuck to them can’t be recycled. 

Some paper items you can’t recycle are:

  • Photos and photo paper
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Tissues and kitchen roll
  • Soiled paper plates

Can you recycle wrapping paper?

The problem with wrapping paper is that it isn’t always paper. Wrapping paper that consists of just paper is 100% recyclable. If the paper contains shiny plastic, glitter or foil it can’t be recycled and has to go in the general waste. 

Take care to remove sellotape from the wrapping paper too as this will render it unrecyclable. 

If you want to be certain your Christmas wrapping paper is recyclable, you can buy recyclable wrapping paper in most shops. 

Can paper towel rolls be recycled?

The cardboard roll in the centre of your kitchen or toilet roll is 100% recyclable in the blue bin. However toilet paper and kitchen towel has to go into the general waste bin. 

How to tell if paper is recyclable

Don’t forget that shredding paper actually makes it much more difficult to recycle. If a piece of non-recyclable paper ends up in the blue bin, it’s much easier to remove if it’s a whole sheet, rather than shredded pieces. Large amounts of otherwise good-to-recycle paper can end up in general waste due to contamination by shredded non-recyclable material. 

If you run a business it’s likely your producing a lot of paper waste. At Gaskells we work with lots of different businesses and always find a system that fits their unique schedule. Book an audit today to see how we can help you.