The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has awarded funding of more than £500,000 to a closed loop paper recycling project managed by The Apsley Paper Trail at Frogmore Mill, Hertfordshire.
The Paper Magic scheme involves the free collection of A4 waste copier and other white waste paper from participating schools for recycling into a suite of new coloured and white paper products at partner recycling paper mills. The Robert Horne Group will develop and market the products to the office, schools and personal stationery sectors nationally under the Paper Magic brand.
The project aims to divert 10,000 tonnes of paper waste each year from landfill by enrolling more than 550 schools from the surrounding Apsley region.
The Paper Trail project is an activity-based exploration centre built around an historic fully working paper mill that offers public access into the heart of a real working environment.
Paper Magic project director John Watson says: "We have enrolled 24 local secondary schools following a successful pilot, and they are already competing with each other on the amount of paper collected.
We are taking care to ensure that our A4 white office waste paper collections complement other existing waste paper collections from schools.
By keeping these different qualities of waste paper separated at source, it ensures that it is recycled into the most appropriate grades, be it newsprint or school art paper."
The scheme is being operated at a local level at this stage and will be available to secondary schools only.
However, Apsley Paper Trail and the project partners hope to extend participation to primary schools, colleges, hospitals and other municipal facilities and, ultimately, to roll the scheme out to other locations in the UK.
Paper Planet, part of the Pearce Recycling Group, will provide the collection of paper waste from schools and community groups. Managing director Simon Pearce says: "Take-up of the scheme is anticipated to show a sharp rise during the next few months rather than a gradual one from the start. A fleet of vehicles is already available and can move very quickly to integrate collections into existing commercial rounds."
WRAP believes this is an innovative project that has the potential to be rolled out nationwide.
Michelle O'Riley, regional market development fund manager for WRAP, says: "The participation from a wide range of partners from both the paper industry and education sector is encouraging and very important to making the project work. This scheme is already capturing the imagination of everyone involved, and will make a significant contribution to diverting paper from landfill.
WRAP and Apsley Paper Trail will be reporting on the project in detail in April next year.
Last year saw the start of a review of EU recycling policies under the 6th Environmental Action Programme and the resulting thematic strategy is expected this year.
The strategy will indicate the direction of future policies and be accompanied by concrete proposals such as the Revision of the Waste Framework Directive.
According to the Confederation of European Paper Industries' annual report, the organisation has prop