Paper and Cardboard Recycling Statistics

By:     Kieran Donnelly

There has been a global effort to keep paper and cardboard waste out of our landfills and put it to better use. Paper and cardboard are one of the most recyclable materials available to us and they can be repurposed time and time over again. 

In this article, we’ll explore the impact of paper and cardboard recycling in the U.K., the US and worldwide. We’ll also touch on the duty of responsibility that businesses and the general public have on reducing this particular type of waste. 

Gradeall is a leading manufacturer of waste disposal machinery, producing high-spec balers that are used to compress cardboard and paper into tight bales before they are transported to recycling plants. Gradeall is committed to aiding in global recycling solutions and ensuring that businesses have the right equipment to do so. 

Why paper and cardboard recycling is so important

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of different countries and their paper and cardboard recycling efforts, we should first understand the dangers associated with not recycling this type of waste. 

1. Producing new paper and cardboard leads to deforestation 

New paper and cardboard material is created from trees, it is referred to as virgin paper or virgin cardboard because it is made directly from new wood pulp. This manufacturing process of raw wood materials has resulted in massive amounts of deforestation throughout the world. 

Deforestation negatively impacts the surrounding wildlife, it causes animals to lose their homes, destroys natural habitats and affects the surrounding air quality significantly. Although many brands claim to plant another tree in replacement of the ones they cut down, it has been proved that it is simply too difficult to replant trees against the rate of production. 

Pursuing paper and cardboard recycling is the best method for protecting our forests and preventing deforestation. 

2. Waste cardboard and paper release greenhouse gases

When waste paper and cardboard material is dumped into landfill sites, they will release methane – a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Paper and cardboard recycling is the best approach for ensuring a sustainable economy and protecting the environment. 

3. Recycled cardboard only uses 75% of the energy compared to the energy required for making new cardboard. 

Recyclable materials help reduce the amount of energy required in the manufacturing process of paper and cardboard. It provides a new product that is of equal quality to newly created materials. 

4. Transporting cardboard affects the environment. 

Due to the bulky nature of cardboard, it can often be difficult to transport it efficiently. It takes up a lot of space and leads to increased fuel, transport and labour costs. This issue is damaging to both the environment and the business’ profits. 

Gradeall manufactures world-leading paper and cardboard recycling machinery. Our impressive range of balers provides businesses with flexible options for recycling machinery that meets their waste management needs. 

Whether you need a vertical baler, or one that is able to produce 250kg bales or 500kg bales, Gradeall have the equipment ready to streamline your paper and cardboard recycling process. 

Paper and cardboard recycling in the U.K.

The U.K. has made great efforts in its paper and cardboard recycling initiative. Check out the statistics below relating to environmental benefits per tonne of recycled cardboard and paper. 

5. Per tonne, we save enough fuel to drive 1000 miles. 

6. Per tonne, we save 2 Olympic size swimming pools of water.

7. Per tonne, we save 46 gallons of oil.

8. Per tonne, we save 17 trees. 

This shows the incredible impact that every tonne of recycled paper and cardboard has on the U.K. environment and in the global effort to protect our planet. However, environmental changes still need to be pursued. 

9. 1.4 million tonnes of cardboard material are combusted.

Combustion burns the cardboard in order to discard it, this is not the best environmentally friendly method as it releases toxins into the air. 

10. Every year, 34 million trees are saved in the U.K. due to cardboard recycling. 

11. Over 5.6 million tonnes of paper and card waste are prevented from being dumped into landfills, that’s over 200 acres worth of landfill space. 

12. The U.K. recycles over 84% of corrugated cardboard. 

13. Scotland has the highest rate of recycling in the U.K. 

Gradeall is a leading supplier of paper and cardboard recycling machinery, in the U.K., we are committed to improving the recycling process in the U.K. and across the globe. 

Paper and cardboard recycling in the U.S.

The United States is also demonstrating efforts in working towards the global effort for enhanced paper and cardboard recycling processes. Check out these statics below.

14. 90% of all shipping products in the U.S. are packed in cardboard.

15. The U.S. recycles around 70% of its corrugated cardboard, the most thickest type. 

16. The U.S. recycled 46 million tonnes of its paper and cardboard waste in 2018, which was its highest rate to date. 

17. 40% of all waste produced in the U.S. is cardboard or paper materials. 

Whilst the U.S. is making great strides in the paper and cardboard recycling efforts, change is still needed to work towards a greener economy. Especially when considering the shocking statistic below. 

18. 67.7m tons of paper and cardboard ended up in the United States solid waste stream. 

Paper and Cardboard recycling across the globe

The global efforts for paper and cardboard recycling have lessened the negative effects on the environment and provided a new avenue for pursuing sustainable industries now and in the future.

19. In 2020, the global market for paper and cardboard recycling reached $45.5 Billion.

20. Consumer trends across the globe have seen an increased preference for packaging made from recyclable materials. 

21. Nearly 92% of all corrugated cardboard was recycled globally. 

22. Almost half of all the cardboard boxes produced in 2021, were made from recycled paper. 

Global trends are showing an increasing trend in paper and cardboard recycling. Place your business at the forefront of making a positive environmental impact with the Gradeall recycling machinery range. 

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