Paper Round drops term ‘mixed recycling’

London-based recycling and waste management company Paper Round announced today (21 September) it will stop using the term ‘mixed recycling’ for any of its commingled collection services.

One of the trucks used by Paper Round

The company will rename the services ‘paper, cans and plastic containers’.

Paper Round was founded by Friends of the Earth in 1988 and is now an independent company

Paper Round says it made the decision following an analysis of more than 100 detailed waste audits, in which mixed recycling bins from offices were found to have average contamination rates of 35%. The main contaminants were unrecyclable general waste and food.

The company says many recycling scheme users do not know what the term ‘mixed recycling’ means, and so throw all kinds of materials into mixed bins in a case of so-called ‘wish cycling’.

Bill Swan, managing of Paper Round, said: “We have always argued that source separation is best to meet the needs of the circular economy by providing quality materials that can have a useful second life. The data we are releasing today clearly supports this point.

“We think the term mixed recycling is at best confusing. As an industry we must move away from that term, and we should go one step further and get paper and card into separate collections wherever that is possible.”


Paper Round says it is making the changes to mixed recycling to coincide with Recycle Week 2020, and is promoting the separate message in a Paper Round Twitter hashtag #Recyclingweseparate.

“We think the term mixed recycling is at best confusing”

Bill Swan

The company has also published data it claims shows the corporate workplace could benefit from getting ‘paper out’ of co-mingled streams.

Its analysis of mixed recycling found that about 30-35% of the content was paper and card. Where offices provided users with specific paper and card bins, 90% or more of the available paper and card was correctly placed in the dedicated bins with less than 5% contamination.


Founded by Friends of the Earth in 1988 and now an independent company, Paper Round operates in London and the south east.

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