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How to Recycle Paper Bags

How to Recycle Paper Bags

Unsoiled paper bags can easily be stored for future use.

Don't keep any bags with food or residue in them. While you might remember what was in it today, in another month, it's unlikely that you will. Food leftovers attracts hungry flora and fauna - not much of which you want to be coating the next thing that goes in the bag. Mid and larger size bags with small amounts of food in them can easily be used as bin liners within a few days - or store them folded in your fridge or freezer until you need them. 

But be sensible - don't toss clean bags - we toss out far too many reusable paper bags that are perfectly safe for reuse. Simply fold up your paper bags and store them with your other bags.

Smaller (food grade) brown bags can be used for school lunches, tuck shop, your own lunch, paper bag lanterns - anything you need a bag for.

They also make excellent gift bags for smaller items. Simply insert your gift, fold the edges as you normally would and tie with a ribbon or string.

Larger paper shopping bags are often in the most glorious colours and are great for anything requiring pretty colours in diy and craft projects.  

Paper bags can of course be readily reused as shopping bags, as well as gift bags and bin liners when they become a bit tatty.  

Alternatively, when you are done with them, paper bags can be composted as the dry layer in your compost or recycled in your council recycling bin along with other paper products. 

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Science Notes
The process of recycling paper is quite simple. The original product is broken down mechanically or chemically, creating pulp which is then remanufactured into another paper product.

Paper can be recycled up to eight times before the fibres start to break down. After this it is converted to organic waste for safe breakdown. Every tonne of paper recycled saves thirteen trees, more than two barrels of oil, over 4000kW of electricity, over 30000L of water and four cubic metres of landfill.

Related Tip
Coloured paper bags make excellent gift wrap substitutes or or cut them up for tags, reused as shopping lists, memos, to-do lists, drafts for documents, drawing paper or note paper.