Office Paper Recycling

Office Paper Recycling

Office Paper Recycling

Source: Department of Environmental Services

Most of our office waste paper is not waste. It is estimated that more than 70% of office waste is recyclable paper: letters, copy paper, computer paper, colored paper, newspaper and cardboard. An effective office paper recycling program is good for the environment and insures compliance with the law.This section provides useful information to help businesses and organizations develop an effective paper recycling program.

It Works

Experience with recycling programs in many types of businesses has shown that employee participation continues at 90%.

It’s Good for the Environment

When paper is made from old paper, up to 70% less energy is used than if paper is made from virgin wood fiber. Recycling one ton of paper could save the energy equivalent of 380 gallons of oil and substitutes for three tons of virgin wood fiber.

By recycling, we can reduce the amount of trees cut for paper production. One ton of waste paper can substitute for about three tons of virgin wood fiber in the making of new paper.

When we recycle, we reduce the amount of waste going to disposal sites.

What types of paper your office recycling program should collect

Almost all paper can be recycled, but most office programs focus on the high-grades (white and computer). That’s because these grades have stable markets, are generated in larger quantities and command a higher price.

Low-grade papers are in less demand, so dealers pay less (sometimes nothing) for them. Stable markets exist for colored paper, newspaper and cardboard.

Office buildings with 20,000 square feet or more of office space are required by law to recycle office paper (white, colored, computer) newspaper and cardboard.

It’s Easy

The 4-step Office Paper Recycling Program, as illustrated, makes it easy.

4-Step Recycling Program

1. Desk-top Collection — Employees separate recyclable paper into desk-top folders.


2. Central Collection Stations — Employees empty full folders into centralized drop-off containers.


3. Transportation to Main Storage Area — Custodial staff collects paper from centralized drop-off containers


4. Waste Paper Dealer — Recyclable paper is taken by a waste hauler or recycler.

(Please be sure to put only paper that can be recycled into the containers. The wrong type of paper can contaminate and ruin an entire batch of recyclable paper)


You Can Recycle:

High-grade white paper, including:

  • typing paper
  • letterhead
  • copier paper
  • memos
  • “blue” prints with black ink

Computer paper, including:

  • all white
  • green-and-white bar
  • multi-stripe

Low-grade colored paper, including:

  • yellow legal paper
  • multi-copy forms (carbonless)
  • manila and colored folders


Corrugated cardboard

You Cannot Recycle:

Carbon paper

Thermal fax paper


Binders: glued, metal, spiral


Telephone books

Magazines / glossy paper

Blueprints with blue ink

Gummed labels, adhesives, tape

Paper bags, plates, cups

Tissues, paper towels, napkins

Rubber bands, paper clips






CONTACT 800-441-7949


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