How to Recycle Paper

How Much Do You Know About Paper Recycling?

Here’s a quick guide to determine if your stack of papers is actually recyclable.

Is It Larger Than a Credit Card?

Small materials on their own — like lids and bottle caps — sometimes get stuck in the processing machines. This is also true of small papers, like sticky notes or shredded paper. Ensure anything that goes into your recycling container is larger than a credit card. You can recycle shredded paper as long as it is contained within a recyclable paper bag.

Smaller than a credit card

Is It Mixed with Other Materials?

Single-stream recycling allows you to conveniently put all recyclable materials into the same bin. But when mixed materials are attached to each other — like on a windowed envelope or a bubble-wrap padded envelope — which contain both paper and plastic, you must separate the materials before placing them both into your bin. If you can’t separate them, toss the envelope in the waste bin instead.

Separate mixed materials

Is the Paper Dry?

Say you accidentally leave your recycling bin open during an overnight downpour (oops!) or you spill coffee all over your Sunday newspaper. Before it was wet, the paper was recyclable, but after it’s wet, you should toss it in the waste container instead.

Wet paper

Paper You Can Recycle

  • Newspaper
  • Mail & magazines
  • Office paper
  • Notebook paper

Paper You Shouldn't Recycle

  • Mixed-media mail & packaging
  • Uncontained shredded paper
  • Wet paper
  • Small sticky notes

Ready to Recycle Other Materials?

Plastic Cardboard Metal