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Recycling, in theory, is a simple concept: dispose of certain materials in a specific container in order to ensure that material will be reused rather than unnecessarily wasted. However, the ins and outs of recycling can be far-reaching, depending on the material in question. Paper recycling, for instance, must be handled in a specific manner to guarantee all materials are efficiently reused.

Here are a few quick tips for proper and efficient paper recycling.


Know the process

Most paper items are capable of being recycled in some way, shape, or form. However, it is still important to verse yourself in those materials that are guaranteed to make it to the recycling facility.

These materials include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Plain white paper
  • Colored paper
  • Booklets and manuals
  • Cards
  • Magazines and newspapers

Conversely, non acceptable items include coffee cups, carbon paper, paper towels and tissues, and most pizza boxes. Knowing these distinctions will prevent wasting while making the process easier for your local pick-up crew.

In most cases, you will want to separate appropriate paper materials from other recyclable items, trying your hardest to keep these materials dry and intact. If you need to blot out important personal information, use a black marker or pen to do so instead of shredding or defacing the paper. Wait until morning to put out your recycling if there is rain or other inclement weather in the forecast.


Supporting the entire process

Recycling paper is obviously very important, but be sure to see your efforts through by purchasing recycled paper. Most simple internet searches will yield a list of companies that sell paper products constructed of reused materials; write these companies down and try your best to support them in lieu of ones forgo this approach. By engaging both ends of the process, you will help to keep the entire cycle in motion.


Know when to recycle paper

We tend to waste paper in the settings where recycling is needed the most. A great example is in the office, where any given amount of stressors and obligations prevent us from focusing on sustainability in general. In these situations, make a mental note to recycle all appropriate paper products, as they are likely more plentiful in this setting. Additionally, if your office does not currently value recycling, instill a sustainable mindset by bringing up the matter in meetings, donating recycling bins, and helping to maintain a sustainable conversation with coworkers.