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Paper recycling: how to recycle paper at home

Looking for some new ways to recycle paper? Want to know more about how paper is recycled? Cleanipedia has all the information you need!


recycling paper

Most paper recycling is quite simple. In the UK, local collections take place across the country and transport paper waste to facilities that turn it into new items. How paper is recycled in this process involves mixing it with water and breaking it down to form new sheets of paper. Any type of paper can be used in this process, with a few exceptions:

  • Used paper towels
  • Paper stained with food, dirt or paint
  • Greaseproof or baking paper
  • Wallpaper
  • Paper with adhesive on it such as sticky labels

Did you know that the average person in the UK uses 38kg of newspaper per year? From newspapers and magazines to letters and paper bags, paper is one of the most widely recycled items in the UK. In fact, two thirds of waste paper is reused in some way.

Of course, there is still more that can be done to reuse the final third so if you want to know how to recycle paper in your home and let nothing be wasted, then we’ve got you covered.

There are many ways of recycling paper but the easiest is to use your local collection. Make sure you check what is, and isn’t accepted as some items, like brown paper, should be recycled alongside cardboard and not with other paper items.

How To Recycle Paper At Home

While you can always pop used paper out for your regular recycling collection, there are other, more creative, ways of recycling paper that you might want to try at home.

  1. Use it as mulch or compost Waste paper is a vital ingredient of a healthy compose heap. If you don’t have the space (or time) to build one yourself then you can still recycle paper as mulch. Simply tear it into small strips and place it around your plants. Recycling paper in this way helps to keep the soil in your garden moist and adds nutrients to it too.
  2. Use it as packing material Not sure how to recycle paper packaging and newspapers? Use them to bulk out boxes when packing items to move house, putting items into storage, or sending gifts to friends. Wrap delicate items in newspaper and scrunch up other items of used paper or cardboard to fill gaps in the box and protect your valuables.
  3. Turn it into fresh paper This might seem quite labour intensive, but it’s a great activity for those with crafty fingers or anyone wondering how to recycle paper at home for kids. After all, it’s educational and messy, with the process you’ll follow mimicking how paper is recycled at waste sorting plants.

For this recycling activity you’ll need:

  • An old picture frame (with glass removed)
  • Mesh (big enough to cover the picture frame)
  • A washing-up bowl (large enough to fit your picture frame in)
  • A sponge
  • An old towel

To begin recycling paper into new sheets that can be used again, follow this process:

  • Tape the mesh to your old picture frame to create a screen
  • Shred the old paper you want to recycle and blend it with warm water in a bowl
  • Once you have a smooth pulp, submerge the picture frame into the mixture
  • Pull the frame back out and rest it on an old towel. The mesh should be full of the paper pulp from your washing-up bowl
  • Add any decorations, such as dried flowers, or scraps of coloured paper that you like and cover with a little more pulp from your bowl
  • Press the sponge across the frame to squeeze excess water from the pulp
  • Leave the frame to dry for at least a day, and then peel off your new sheet of paper

There you have it – recycling paper made simple. Whether you’re putting it outside or putting it to work in your compost heap, there are lots of ways of recycling paper.

Originally published