Did you know that paper and paper-based packaging are the most recycled materials in the United States?! We want to keep it that way by making it even easier to identify exactly what to recycle in your everyday life.
Get started here. Print our paper and paper-based packaging recycling reference sheet, then check your local recycling rules, as every area has different guidelines. Find yours by inputting your ZIP code at BeRecycled.org.
What goes into the bin:
- White and colored paper—think writing paper, file folders, stationery
- Mail and envelopes (yes, even those with windows), greeting cards—if you still get coupons, toss ’em in too
- Most of those boxes that pile up when you buy cereal, shoes, laundry detergent, medicine, cakes, candy—you get the picture
- Takeout and frozen food containers, including ice cream cartons
- Beverage cups and drink boxes—but remove lids and straws first
- Pizza boxes—and you don’t have to stress over the grease stains or cheese, new research finds
- Shipping boxes—break them down so they’re flat
- Paper bags
- Magazines and newsprint—no need to remove staples or worry about special inks or glossy papers; today’s recycling machinery can handle them
- Juice and milk cartons
- Wrapping paper, including the cardboard tube
- Recycling isn’t the only option. Paper packaging’s durability means that it can be reused. Flatten boxes for easy storage, and come gift-wrapping time you’re all set up.
- Quality matters. Don't forget to flatten boxes. Make sure the item is clean and dry. Crumpled paper goes into the recycling bin. But that magazine you dropped in the bathtub? Sorry—wet paper goes in the garbage. (Try making seed paper with it instead.)
- Books are a special case. Some curbside recycling programs accept paperback and hardcover books as-is, others require you to remove spines and covers because of the adhesive in the binding, and others ask you to go to a separate facility.