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Closing the loop on waste paper recycling

08 January 2020

Last year we made a commitment to send zero waste to landfill by the end of 2020. We’ve now analysed the waste we create in our business operations, looked at our supply chains and followed the journey our waste currently goes on. As a result, we’ve started to identify ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle effectively and efficiently in the future.

We’ve already started our mission by asking you to return your card readers for recycling and removing single use plastic cutlery from our staff canteens. But becoming a zero waste to landfill bank isn’t something we can do overnight. Over the first half of 2020 we’ll introduce new initiatives and bring our head offices and branches on board in phases. By the end of summer 2020 we’ll be well on our way to achieving our zero waste to landfill commitment.

We’ve challenged our staff to reduce the amount of office paper they use but it’s impossible to completely eradicate paper waste from our operations. We’ve been using recycled office and letter paper for over 15 years but we realised we could go one step further by introducing a ‘closed loop’ recycling solution that incorporates our waste paper into the manufacture of a new batch of recycled printer paper. We can then purchase that paper for use in our offices and branches.

In the traditional paper recycling process, virgin fibre (from sustainably farmed trees) needs to be added to the pulp recipe because the fibres from waste paper become too short for the production of new paper after repeated processing. Our supplier has perfected their paper recycling process so that they can recycle waste paper repeatedly, without any loss of quality, so no additional wood pulp needs to be added. As a result, our paper is now truly ‘paper made from paper’. In addition, the manufacturers have substituted coal in their factory with fuels with biogenic content, which means their fuels contain material that was produced by living organisms. The manufacture of 250 sheets of our paper saves enough energy to keep an 11W lightbulb going for more than 36 days!

What can you do to help?

  • Please do your bit by recycling any letters you get from The Co-operative Bank (and from anyone else too). Remember to shred anything containing personal information to help protect against identity fraud.
  • If you haven’t done it already, personal customers can sign up for paperless statements in a couple of clicks.
  • If you’re a business customer, why not follow our lead by closing the loop with your paper supplier.

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