Shredall recycle 100% of all paper that comes to us for shredding, all in the United Kingdom. But how is the paper recycled once it gets to the paper mill? And what happens to it afterwards?

The paper-recycling process

  • The paper is graded into different qualities.
  • White recycled paper is pulped in tanks. This washes off all inks so the fibres can be reused.
  • The fibres are screened to remove any debris. Electromagnets pick up any metals, like paperclips and staples.
  • The fibres are cleaned and deinked several times in a flotation tank, making them whiter and whiter. Whitening agents are added before the pulp, now 99% water and 1% fibre, is pumped onto a paper machine.
  • It’s passed over a vibrating machine or through rollers to remove most of the water. The water is sent back to the beginning of the process and the remaining material is now half fibre and half water. 

  • The sheets are passed over heated rollers with a temperature of up to 130 degrees. The water content reduces by 5%, making the paper whiter, smoother and more useable.
  • The paper is dried and run through a machine that acts like an ironing board. It is then wound into huge rolls weighing up to 30 tonnes.
  • The paper is tested to make sure it reaches the correct standard and quality for strength, gloss and brightness.
  • The rolls are divided into smaller reels or sheets, and packed and stored ready to be sent to the printers.
  • After it’s been printed, used and discarded, the process begins again.

Sorted office paper follows a similar process to printers’ paper. At the end of the process, it’s blown to create huge reels of tissue. These are then put onto converters to produce toilet tissue and other tissue-related products.

Paper-recycling facts

  • Paper is a biodegradable material. When it goes to landfill it will rot, and bacteria will form and produce methane. This powerful greenhouse gas is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.
  • Manufacturing brand-new paper uses more energy than making recycled paper, but varies depending on the grade or type of paper being made. Lower-quality paper, such as newsprint and packaging paper, takes less energy to manufacture than office paper.
  • The majority of Britain’s national daily newspapers are recycled. It can take just seven days for a newspaper to go through the recycling process and be back on the newsagents’ shelves.
  • Recycling one short ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough energy to power the average home for six months.
  • An average tree weighs 1,000 pounds and would yield 450 pounds of pulp. Assuming 90% is converted into pulp, a single tree would produce approximately 810 rolls of toilet paper.
  • Paper recycling has been around for as long as paper itself. Shredall has always recognised the environmental and economic benefits of recycling shredded documents, and today we recycle 100% of all shredded office paper.
  • The quality of paper produced through our recycled paper when recycled back into fibres is comparable to that made from virgin raw material.
"Whilst writing I would like to thank you and your teams for making this daunting task painless. 18.5 tonnes of paper gone within two days ! Your teams worked quickly and efficiently to clear the huge quantities – but also assisted in our recycling by saving folders, archive boxes etc. I cannot thank you all enough. I look forward to working with you again in the near future. "
Facilities Manager - Insurance Broker Nationwide Offices