Made from vegetable fibres called cellulose, paper as we know it today was first created in China more than two thousand years ago. Since the advent of the printing press in the 15th century , its use has spread across all continents to the extent that, currently, it is hard to imagine the world without this versatile material. More than 400 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are produced worldwide every year, with more than half coming from recovered sources.
Approximately 50% of recovered paper comes from industry and business. This includes paper trimmings, cuttings and shavings from manufacturers and converters, as well as goods discarded before they reach the consumer, such as unsold newspapers and magazines. Well over a third of recovered paper comes from households. Almost any used paper can be recycled, including newspaper, cardboard, packaging, stationery, direct mail, magazines, catalogues, greeting cards and wrapping paper.
Recycling used paper and cardboard has significant advantages over other disposal options – namely landfill and incineration. It is imperative to stimulate the demand for products containing high levels of recycled fibre because of their environmental benefits. The work carried out by BIR has been instrumental in encouraging the development of new markets for recovered paper