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Amazing facts about newspaper recycling

Sustainability is part of the story of Australian newspapers

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If you ever doubted that the news media industry considered sustainability in everything that we do, let us wow you with these incredible facts.

We recycle THREE QUARTERS of all newspapers in Australia!

75% of newspapers are recycled in Australia, up from 28% at the start of 1990. That’s a statistic that places Australia among the top newspaper recyclers in the world.

An additional 6.8% of newspapers have been found to be reused around the home, effectively putting the actual recycling/reuse rate to around 82%.

All of the newspapers collected for recycling are used, either to make new newsprint, packaging, or in alternative uses such as building insulation if they are not contaminated. No clean newspapers need go to waste.

Australia only uses sustainable timber sources for making newsprint

No trees from old growth forests have been used in Australian newsprint manufacture since 1991. Regrowth plantation forests, together with recycled fibre, provide the wood fibre used to make newspapers. Forests are not felled specifically for newsprint production. Thinnings, forest waste and undersize/bent/misshaped trees unsuitable for timber, are generally those utilised to make newsprint.


Recycling does more than saving trees

Recycling reduces landfill space, and minimises the use of virgin fibre, but the most important benefit of recycling old newspapers is in reducing greenhouse emissions from the newsprint paper manufacture. It takes a sixth of the energy to make pulp from recycled fibres compared to virgin fibres. An average family recycling for a year saves greenhouse emissions equal to running a three-bedroom home for five days.

The inks used to print newspapers are non-toxic and safe

Newspapers are safe to bury, burn or compost. No heavy metals (as defined in Australian Standard 1647, Part 3_1982) are added to black or process colour inks. Background levels are measured in parts per million, many times less than the Australian Standards for inks used in children’s’ toys and colour comics. By 1977 all newspaper inks used in Australia were modified to “low toxicity” and lead was discontinued as a pigment base.

Learn more about our industry and sustainability in this video:

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