Take a tour of our new recycling centre!

Naked Sprout founder Tom at our new recycling centre

Whenever we mention our recycled toilet rolls we get a lot of questions about where it comes from, and a few jokers asking if they’re made from used toilet paper. We would never! 

In fact, the innovations that go into our recycled toilet rolls are a major source of pride for us, and we’ve just expanded into a new recycling centre, so now our unbleached recycled rolls are more innovative than ever.

Fancy a tour of our new facility? Come on in!

A box of unbleached toilet rolls

What goes into a recycled roll?

Before we look at what goes into our rolls, let’s talk a bit about what doesn’t.

Traditionally, recycled toilet paper is made from recycled office paper - the white A4 sheets that businesses use for internal documents, reports, spreadsheets, and everything else that needs to be printed out. If you’ve worked in an office you’ll know these white sheets are typically shredded and put in the recycling bin when they’re no longer needed.

But with the rise in remote working since the pandemic, and more and more work taking place on screens, the mountains of paper that offices used to produce are looking more like mole hills. The shortage of waste office paper means toilet roll makers are having to look further afield to source the necessary amounts, even shipping office paper from abroad, and prices are rising.

And there’s another issue with printer paper that we wanted to avoid, the colour. What do you get when you take white paper that’s been printed with black ink, and mash it up with water? That’s right, a heap of unappealing grey pulp. People don’t want grey toilet rolls, so recycled toilet rolls are generally bleached toilet rolls. And if you know anything about Naked Sprout you know we don’t bleach any of our products. 

So when we came to make our own recycled rolls, we decided to try something different. Instead of office paper we’re using a source of material that is becoming more plentiful. Cardboard delivery boxes, like the type used by supermarkets and online deliveries, are getting a new lease of life as brown, unbleached, Naked Sprout toilet rolls. And with our new recycling centre, they’re getting their makeover in style.

waste filtration at our recycling centre

Our recycling centre

The cardboard boxes and kraft paper that we use to make our rolls are collected from within 85km of our factory. The distance is significant because we include the emissions for this collection, like all of our other raw material transport, in our climate footprint.  

Once we have the cardboard we need to sort it, and this is where our new facility shines. Most recycling plants rely on manual sorting; people go through the pile of recyclables by hand to make sure there’s no non-paper elements like big bits of plastic or metal that can’t be turned into tissue. It’s a time consuming process and lots of waste is left behind. On average, plants relying on manual sorting can only recover about 50% of the materials sent to them. 

Our new recycling facility is a game-changer. The sorting system is fully automated and it’s one of the most efficient in the world. Waste travels along a system of conveyor belts that detect and automatically filter out anything we can’t use. Currently, it can recover 82% of the cardboard and paper that goes into it, and we are steadily working towards achieving 100% recovery

This remarkable efficiency means our plant can handle three times more recycling each month than our old facility. Plus, the new plant is solar-powered and uses electric cranes, so there’s no fossil fuels needed to power it. 

Naked Sprout founder Tom in front of stacks of cardboard bales

From cardboard boxes to toilet rolls

Once all the cardboard has been separated, it’s crushed and wrapped into large bales. The image above shows our founder Tom standing in front of a huge stack of these cardboard bales, ready to be transformed into your next roll of toilet paper! 

These bales are then transported to our nearby factory, where they’re pulped and filtered again, this time using flotation to make sure any tiny bits of glue or plastic are removed. Finally the pulp is given a really good clean before being pressed and dried into smooth, unbleached sheets. 

All that’s left is winding and chopping. The saws that chop down our toilet rolls, like the conveyor belts at our sorting facility, are powered by renewable  electricity. The energy that flows through our machines comes courtesy of wind turbines, hydro generators, and 8000 solar panels, all built on site. And the fuel in the furnace that provides our drying heat is local biomass

Naked Sprout factory with sheep in the foreground

What’s next?

At Naked Sprout we’re constantly advancing and improving our processes to make our lovely soft tissue products as sustainable as they can be. Our new recycling facility is another step in our journey. By taking local waste materials, and employing renewable energy and state-of-the-art sorting technology, we’re able to produce unbleached recycled toilet paper with a lower climate footprint

One man’s trash is another man’s toilet roll, after all! 

We’re not stopping here. Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes looks at our processes and future innovations. If you have any questions about our new recycling facility or our recycling processes, we’d love to hear from you, just email hello@nakedsprout.uk.

Want to try these recycled wonders for yourself? 


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