We collect over 90,000 binder folders through our corporate collections program every year. You read that right... over ninety thousand! Crazy huh!?
Because they come into Green Collect in such huge volumes, we are always looking for innovative ways to use them, whether reusing, upcycling/re-making them into new products or finding the best recycling channels.
Binder folders are one of the most problematic commodities to dispose of responsibly as they are often made with a combination of cardboard, PVC and metal, so they are very tricky to recycle.
The best solution is always reuse, so we on-sell folders where we can through our retail and online shops, but where we can't reuse, we tear them down into their parts, reuse elements we can and find appropriate recycling channels for things we can't.
Peel back the PVC cover on a folder and you'll find beautiful, high-grade cardboard that can be reused and upcycled in many different ways. One of the ways we make use of this wonderful commodity is by creating a range of upcycled notebooks.
Our tear-down process involves removing the PVC cover and taking out the metal binding for recycle, and trimming the card.
We use this card, as well as redundant letterhead salvaged from businesses; trim the paper down to a5, remove letterhead and branding, to create beautiful, high-quality upcycled notebooks.
We are very proud of our upcycled notebooks as they represent a full-circle process where waste is turned into new, useful products. But these notebooks only scrape the surface of the problem of folders. We literally can not keep up with the folders that come in and we are always trying to think of new ways to deal with them.
Ideally, we would love to be able to get these folders back in use as they are – through selling them back into the community at a very low price. This would be the best environmental outcome, as it would be the most efficient use of resources. But the demand for folders just isn't there, so we make notebooks out of some and need to send the others off for recycling after we break them down, which to be honest, makes us sad. A perfectly good commodity being pulped.
So, for the sake of the planet (and your wallet!), please choose second hand when purchasing stationery. Re-use what you already have, or come and see us when you need to replenish your stationery cupboard and you'll find everything you need at a fraction of the cost of buying new.