What happens to the paper we recycle?

Ever wondered what happens to all the paper that we collect from homes in Shrewsbury?  Well despite what you might read in the papers, we actually send all your paper just over the Welsh border to the award winning eco-friendly Shotton paper mill - a leading manufacturer of newspaper print.  Not only is the mill based on using 100% recycled paper, but also makes its own green biomass energy and sends zero waste to landfill.

We have a long-term relationship with the mill dating back to 1996 when paper recycling collections were first set up in Shrewsbury as a simple carrier bag based service originally covering just the urban part of the Borough. 

Prior to the establishment of paper recycling collections, the mill used to take virgin timber and required a huge amount of energy to cut and chip the logs. So rising energy prices neccessitated a complete rethink of their business model.  Converting the mill to waste paper trimmed millions off their energy bill, cut their carbon footprint and improved their business competiveness as well as helping with the regions recycling strategy.  What they are demonstrating is that there can be a future for manufacturing in the UK, so long as the principles of sustainability are imbedded into the core business model.

Today the mill recycles 640,000 tonnes of waste paper each year and supplies many of the UK's bestselling tabloids and broadsheets.  The efficiency is such that if you put your old newspapers and magazines out for recycling today, within around seven days it will back on the shelf in your local newsagent as a newspaper. 

So next time you are taking your daily newspaper, think about where it's come from, and make sure you 'complete the loop' and put it out for recycling again in your kerbside recycling collection box.  In this way you can do your bit for the environment, whilst at the same time supporting local manufacturing jobs.

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James Thompson James Thompson

Waste Prevention Officer, Waste Management, Shropshire Council

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