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Paper Recycling

Last Modified September 25, 2017

Brown Paper Recycling

In September 2017 we started accepting brown paper in the brown recycling bins. Previously all brown paper should have been put in the black bin as the poor quality of brown paper meant it wasn't suitable for recycling alongside the rest of the paper.

We have now come to an agreement with our recycling facility that brown paper can be recycled in the brown bin. The poor quality of this paper means it still can't be recycled in the blue box with the rest of your paper, but when put in the brown bin it will be recycled alongside the cardboard.

We're hoping this will make recycling easier for residents and, after one week, we've already seen a huge drop in the number of bins being rejected for contamination. Keep up the good work!

No Paper Stickers

In February 2017 stickers were placed on all brown bins in Hertsmere to remind residents to use their blue box for all white paper, newspapers and magazines.

In 2015/16 Hertsmere residents recycled over 2000 tonnes of paper in their blue recycling boxes which is great! You can find out how your paper is recycled here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tWrR92iUs0&feature=youtu.be

But there was still plenty more that could have been done to get all of Hertsmere’s paper recycled correctly.

In 2015 almost 600 tonnes of paper was put in the general waste bins, costing the council nearly £60,000 in disposal costs and causing harmful environmental effects by sending waste to landfill.

Over half of all the contamination (i.e. wrong items) found in the brown bins each fortnight is due to paper. When brown bins contain paper they are not emptied, which wastes your recycling efforts. If our crews miss the contamination and the paper is found at our recycling facility it may cause a whole load of otherwise recyclable material to be sent to landfill.

In order to achieve our goal of increasing our recycling rate to reach our target of 50% by 2020, and make annual savings of over £120,000 which can be put towards other services, we are launched this campaign to help residents recycle right.

So how did it go?

So far the amount of white paper has noticeably decreased. Though still the most frequent contaminant in the borough, we have seen less bins rejected for containing paper so residents seem to be more aware on how to recycle paper.



What bin should I use for paper?

All white paper, which includes newspapers, magazines and catalogues, should go in your blue paper box.

Brown paper should go in your brown recycling bin. 

Please see the table below for a list of items acceptable in the blue box

Why can’t I put white paper in my brown bin?

The paper collected in the blue box and the recycling collected in the brown bin are both sent to separate facilities. The paper from the blue box is used to produce high quality recycled paper. If white paper, newspapers or magazines are found in the mixed recycling it may be rejected from our recycling facility and sent to landfill.

Why is brown paper recycled separately to the rest of my paper?

The fibres used to make brown paper are very thin and poor quality. This means that it can interfere with the recycling of good quality paper and reduce the quality and value of the end product.

When recycled in the brown bin, brown paper is recycled with cardboard which means poor quality isn't as much of an issue.

What will happen if I put paper in the brown bin?

If white paper is found in your brown bin the bin won’t be emptied as the paper will be classed as contamination. Your bin then won’t be emptied until your next scheduled collection date.

My brown bin was not collected. Will you come back if I remove the paper?

We won’t return until your next scheduled collection, but you will need to remove the paper before then. If you have any extra recycling you can take this to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

I do not have a blue box. How can I recycle paper?

If you do not have a blue box you can call Customer Services on 020 8207 7480 and order one free of charge.


Recyclable paper
 White paper Newspaper Envelopes 
 Magazines Catalogues  Yellow Pages 
 Junk mail  Brochures  Leaflets
Brown paper (packaging paper, brown paper bags, etc.) - in your brown bin!

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