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Despite the increased awareness related to the importance of recycling, paper waste remains a massive issue in the UK, and across the world.

Paper recycling is not being as widely adopted as it could and paper accounts for approximately 26% of the total waste at landfill sites. Despite our best intentions and efforts, this figure seems to keep on rising every year!

How much paper are UK businesses using?

Office paper waste is a major contributor to the landfill issue. Recent reports suggest that UK businesses are using over 12.5 million tonnes of paper each year. This figure comprises a variety of businesses, from offices to factories with an estimate of 6.84 million tonnes not being recycled in a 12-month period.

Despite a recent push for ‘paperless’ processes, around 50% of business waste is usually made up of paper, and experts in the field have predicted that by 2025, there will be an enormous 2.3 trillion pages printed every year in the UK!

Aside from choosing paperless processes where possible, there are other significant improvements that can still be made to limit this astronomical number and understanding the paper recycling process can be a great start in prompting positive change.


How is paper recycled?How is Paper Recycled?

After collection, paper waste is taken to a processing plant to begin its recycling journey. After being graded, the paper is screened; then pulped with water and sodium silicate to loosen the ink and clean the fibres.

The paper is then flattened onto an even sheet before heading into a 60mph machine to press the water out of the pulp. Any excess heat from the process is usually retained within the plant for efficiency – a process that uses 95% less air pollution than the processing of virgin paper.

The paper is then rolled into spools and the plant rewinds the paper to fit specific client requirements.


What are the environmental benefits of paper recycling?

Papermaking is extremely energy-intensive, and the pulp and paper making sector is responsible for almost 2% of all emissions from industry globally.

Perhaps look at this way; recycling one tonne of paper saves 30,000 litres of water and 3000-4000 kWh of energy. That amounts to enough power to sustain a three-bedroom house for one year! That’s energy and water that could go to far better use! (Remember that the UK alone uses 12.5 million tonnes of paper each year and you’ll see the scale of energy needed/wasted by not recycling!)

Recycling a tonne of paper not only saves landfill space, but it can also save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and typically large global transportation costs!

How does recycling paper benefit my business?


Printing costs are an expensive business. Heading towards a more paperless environment is an ideal solution, not only do you save on print costs, you also save the time that employees spend undertaking menial tasks.

By recycling paper, you can also reduce your commercial waste and lower your operating costs.  Make sure you’re not losing money by overlooking your waste management plan. Waste disposal can often be significant, yet overlooked, cost for any business!

Opting for recycled products within the office is another great way of reducing costs. Hanzl Eco Hand Towels are made from 80% recycled cardboard and their high efficiency amounts to lower consumption, less waste. Proven to reduce paper usage by 59% and costs by 49%.

Toilet roll is an essential commodity for any business but you can choose a sustainable option. Made from raw materials and 100% tissue, sustainable toilet roll is a cost-effective strategy for reducing paper usage.

Business reputation

Eco-friendly companies and potential candidates respond positively to companies that recycle. A study by Gallup showed that 71% of workers consider an environmental record when applying for positions.

Recycling stations can be a great way to maximise your recycling rates and attract great talent to your business, see here: How does adding recycling stations into your office/workplace help you attract and retain the best staff?

Incorporating modern, effective and space saving recycling stations such as the Unisort Aspire Office Recycling Bin Station makes it as easy as possible for your staff to recycle, and demonstrates to both existing employees and jobseekers that you take environmental matters seriously.

Fully customisable, from compact single bins to more comprehensive recycling solutions with multiple waste streams, your Aspire Recycling Station can be bespoke designed for any environment with custom colours, graphics and finishes to match any interior design.

Unisort Aspire recycling station full range

You can even put your brand’s commitment to sustainability on show to the world with an Aspire Recycling Station worktop made from 100% recycled materials, or from an eco-conscious super-material such as Bamboo.

You can learn more about the Aspire Recycling Station options, and create your perfect recycling station here.


Healthy working environment

Based on the amount of paper utilised by businesses, it’s easy to see how workplaces can become over-cluttered with paper waste. Without a paper recycling strategy, it doesn’t take long for office bins to overflow, and this often ends up in general waste!

Cluttered environments do little for employee wellbeing, even less for productivity. By implementing a recycling scheme, work areas will be tidier and a more positive working environment will be accomplished.

Take a look at our range of recycling bins and bespoke recycling stations for use in any business. Ideal for decluttering workstations and promoting healthy environments.


Confidential paper documents should aways be securely disposed of. While shredders are still an integral part of any business, there are great alternatives that save valuable time and blend seamlessly with any office environment.

Agile Confidential Bins are excellent for disposing of confidential papers or documents, and come with the option of a secure lock if required. Their clear labelling makes recycling straightforward and they’re flexible enough to fit in any working area.

If you’d like to find more about confidential waste bins, take a look at our guide for choosing the best one for your business.


Want to know more about recycling?

Unisan’s key mission is to empower and support workspace recycling, in any environment. We are continually assisting organisations in achieving their sustainability goals and helping businesses demonstrate their commitment to both the environment and their workforce.

Have we convinced you to implement a recycling scheme in your workspace? Hope so! Please reach out to a member of the Unisan team to learn more and we’ll be happy to help.

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