Published 6th of July 2021
We live in a fast-consuming throwaway society, which is taking its toll on the environment. The increase in recycling has drastically reduced the amount of waste that ends up in landfills but recycling alone can’t combat the large quantities of packaging, food and products that are discarded after just one use.
What is a circular economy?
A circular economy allows a product to be re-used repeatedly, instead of the more traditional linear economy approach (make, use, dispose). This means that the products, resources, and equipment are in use for longer, improving productivity and creating a more sustainable society for future generations.
Why is a circular economy important?
There are many benefits to a circular economy, here’s some we believe are most significant:
- Improves recycling and waste management systems, which reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
- Delivers a more competitive economy, promoting sustainable economic growth.
- Increase efficiency, resource productivity, cost savings and profits.
- It allows businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
- It minimizes air and water pollution from extraction and manufacturing process.
- Reduces greenhouse emissions from landfill trash and the production process.
- Decreases the consumption of raw materials.
How does shredding paper make a circular economy?
Paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle but it often still ends up in landfill. Part of the issue is the concern over data security, with businesses unwilling to risk confidential documents with sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
Shredding confidential documents instead of throwing them away takes this problem away, since the documents are destroyed on-site or off-site before being sent to a recycling facility. Not only is this process keeping your documents secure, but it can be recycled again and again and eventually composted when the fibres get too small.
Reuse and Recycle
Approximately recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 26,000 litres of water, 2.3m3 of landfill space, 320 litres of oil and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is enough energy to power a 3-bedroom house for an entire year. Evidently this has a significant environmental impact, during production and raw material sourcing and when the paper products are disposed of.
A circular economy ensures materials flow in a closed loop, with little waste being created at the end. This means that resources and materials are used again and again, with waste being used as another resource. Paper can be recycled about 5-7 times, because the fibres wear out and get lost along the process, which means after time the paper will be too worn out to be recycled again.
When using paper, try to use it in a way that makes it easier to reuse and recycle: Avoid spilling things or getting it dirty; add as few staples and glue as possible, as they are detrimental to recycling and ensure it'splaced in a recycling bin once no longer needed.
Implementing a reuse and recycle policy to your business has many benefits, including creating a circular economy. Our team can help you with this by shredding and recycling your paper waste.