Environmental Benefits of Commercial Recycling for Paper & Cardboard

Why Recycle?

Paper and cardboard are one of the mostly commonly recycled products in Australian workplaces. Recycling collections or drop-off services are readily available in many areas, provided by councils or commercial recyclers. Clean mixed paper and cardboard is recycled into a variety of paper products. Lower grade products can be recycled or composted as organic waste. It is important to purchase paper products with recycled content in order to close the loop and support the recycled paper market.

Approximately 2.3 million tonnes of paper & cardboard is recycled in Australia per year1. That's the equivalent "everyday" savings of over 10 million households' energy use per month2.

Environmental Benefits

"Everyday" and unit savings per tonne of paper & cardboard3 recycled:

Greenhouse
greenhouse
3,713 km driven4
0.77 tonnes CO2
Energy
Energy
4 houses energy for a month5
8.36 GJ LHV (2,323 kWh)
Water
Water
111 bath tubs6
19.56 kL H2O
Waste
Waste
14 Wheelie Bins7
0.81 tonnes

For an explanation of key terms used, please visit our Glossary.

More Info & Sources

1. Hyder Consulting (2009) Waste and Recycling in Australia: Amended report. Hyder Consulting, Melbourne, p. 8
2. Calculation using average of data for all paper and cardboard types (for kerbside and all commercial recycling) as contained in Table 4 (p.14) Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW (2010) Environmental Benefits of Recycling, DECCW, Sydney South
3. Data for all paper and cardboard types (Commercial & Industrial and Construction & Demolition recycling only) contained in Table 4 (p.14) Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW (2010) Environmental Benefits of Recycling, DECCW, Sydney South
4. “Everyday” greenhouse gas emission savings expressed as number of kilometers driven by an average new passenger and light commercial vehicle (206.6g CO2e / km). National Transport Commission (2012) Carbon Dioxide Emissions from New Australian Vehicles 2011 Information Paper
5. “Everyday” cumulative energy demand savings expressed as average household monthly electricity requirements (500 kWh). 1GJ LHV = 278kWh (GJ LHV = Giga-joules of fossil energy (low heating value); kWh = Kilowatt hour)
6. “Everyday” water savings corresponding to average sized bath tubs (0.175 kL capacity)
7. “Everyday” solid waste savings represented by number of average sized wheelie bins (55kg capacity)

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