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World's oldest mill to take business waste

A scheme which keeps the worlds first ever paper mill running is due to be rolled out to small businesses in the next month.

The Paper Trail charitable project already collects the problematic stream of white paper from 250 schools, and with this number anticipated to grow to around 500 in the next year, a historically significant steam-powered mill will see its input increase greatly.

The Paper Trail education officer Hugo Van Kempen said: The Frogmore mill was the first to make paper by machine 200 years ago and this revolutionised everything, revamping the printing process worldwide.

This year, we have collected around 60 tonnes and in 2007 we are targeting 140 tonnes to keep this historic machine alive. It will then be used to produce items such as catalogues and school paper, sending out a very big message to schoolchildren that their old paper can make new paper.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 youngsters have been addressed in assemblies and with around 20 firms already acting as a test bed for office paper collections in the Hertfordshire area, a waste that has caused headaches is being used to keep a piece of history alive.

We collect anything from office paper, copier paper and exercise books, but we dont collect newspapers. This tackles a stream that a lot of councils tend not to provide a service for and may go to landfill.

Some councils have initially been worried and suggested we are cherry picking [white office paper], but we are not, we are helping take away a problem from other mills. For example, Aylesford [Newsprint] specifies that there can only be around 3% of white paper in its intakes, added Van Kempen.

The project was Waste & Resource Action Programme-funded for its first year, which specified in its remit that it must target schools only.

But now due to demand, commercial businesses will be provided with the service as well, helping preserve two historic sites, Apsley Mills and Frogmore Mill in Hemel Hempstead.

The operation offers educational tours, with its collection areas of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire due for possible expansion in the new year, when it hopes to add items such as drinks cartons, ink cartridges, cans and mobile phones to its business and schools collections.



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