One of our local charities has 2 huge recycling banks. Aware of how much paper and cardboard we regularly used to put into our wheelie bin, I decided to change that. Fast forward a few months, and I’m so glad that we started to recycle our paper waste, for so many reasons.

For one, we are no longer sending, at least our paper waste, to the landfills. Our wheelie bin is now mostly half empty on collection days. Secondly, we are collecting paper and depositing it at one of the charity’s recycling banks and they will receive money for this collection. So it’s an absolute win-win! However much we contribute I’m happy knowing that we are contributing, both to our environment (by recycling) and to one of our favourite charities (via payment they will receive from the paper collections).

When we first started, I was quite surprised to see how much paper we were actually sending to the landfills each week! There was a lot. And the more I became aware of what can be recycled, the more paper we started collecting! We now do regular drop-offs at least once a month, and we usually do it on our way elsewhere so we are not really wasting fuel by driving there and back, and thankfully, our chosen charity is not too far away from us in any case.

To start off with, I had to find space to store this paper when we first started our little paper waste collection project. Short of buying a whole new wheelie bin, which I didn’t want to do as it’s so expensive, I ended up getting us 2 large boxes (with lids) that we now use for our paper waste. This cost me R70 in total, but the volumetric size of these two boxes combined is probably close to the space we have in our regular municipal (green) wheelie bin.

This is what we collect to recycle on a regular basis:

  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Junk mail of all sorts
  • Scrap paper such as receipts, labels and tags, etc.
  • All (dry & uncontaminated) paper food packaging such as cereal boxes
  • Cores from toilet paper and paper towels
  • All our toiletries’ paper packaging such as toothpaste boxes
  • Cardboard boxes

I have now even started bringing home cardboard boxes from work. These were just going to the municipal collection bin each week and I thought, if no one wants them, I might as well take them to be recycled. I’ve been doing that for a while now, and the pile of boxes that I collect from work is getting bigger and bigger each week. I’ve also started collecting additional junk mail and newspapers and magazines from family and friends as well, and I add all of this to our paper pile. It all adds up in the end.

I know that our paper waste collection project does take a bit of extra time and effort, but I’m so glad we are doing this, and would like to encourage everyone to recycle paper as much as possible. I am happy that we are not sending any more paper waste to our landfills and I’m also glad to be contributing whatever small amount this may yield from the paper collection company to one of our favourite charities.

Do you recycle your paper waste at home, or at work? I’d love to hear how you’re making a difference.

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