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Proper Green: Are wedding invitations recyclable?

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Wedding season is here! Recycle the invitations with these tips, or even regift them with a little DIY know-how.
Dear Proper Green,

Are wedding invitations recyclable? As soon as I attend the 3 Spring weddings I’ve been invited to, I’ll be ready to dispose of the invites, but don’t know what to do with them.

-Sarah, KS

Dear Sarah,

Wedding season is upon us! Like you, I also attended a few weddings last spring, and then had to figure out what to do with the invites once the weddings were over. I wound up hanging onto them far too long because I figured the clutter on my desk was better than just trashing them. Here are some tips so you don’t have to deal with the same clutter!

Before recycling, take stock of what the invitation is made of. Wedding invites often come with lots of adornments, and are often printed on specialty papers. Generally speaking, the invitation and envelope are both recyclable, with these exceptions:
  • If the invitation or envelope is made of glitter or metallic paper, or printed with metallic ink, it’s probably not recyclable.
  • Ribbons, glitter, beads, and any metal (like grommets or clips) are usually not recyclable along with paper either — but if you can remove them or cut them out of the invite, you could dispose of them separately and still recycle the paper.

If you’re still hesitant, check with your local municipality or waste hauler to see what specific materials are accepted in your area.

If you can’t recycle, think re-use (or even re-gift!). The same qualities that can render many wedding invites unrecyclable are also the qualities that make them so much fun. Consider these options:
  • Many times, wedding invites are only printed on one side of the paper. The blank side could be great for a number of crafts, but especially for texture and background in scrapbooking.
  • Still owe the newly-weds a gift? Mount the invite in a shadowbox frame, along with other goodies from the big day — programs, menus, corsages, and, of course, pictures all work well — and you’ll give them a great memory of their big day.
  • Still owe the newly-weds a gift…when the holidays roll around? Grab some clear glass ornament bulbs from a craft store, and remove the metal tops. Cut the invitation into thin strips, and roll around a pen so the strips get curly. Pop the strips into the ornament, and pop the metal top back in. Loop some ribbon through the top for hanging (especially fun if it’s ribbon from the invitation), and voila!, they’ll have a colorful ornament commemorating their big day.

Do you have any recycling, reusing, or regifting ideas for wedding invites? Share them in the comments below!
About Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and the environment are still evolving) to providing easy ways to make your every day more sustainable, Proper Green aims to help smooth the way with answers to questions that are important to you!

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to Please note: Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

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    The health care home, where my Mother lives, needs all kinds of things. I get the monthly list and take put anything that I have that I don't need, that they can use. I sorted nail polish, shampoo, body wash. They also re-cycle clothes.
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    I really like the idea of recycling the invitations - we have several children's groups that reuse cards in their activities.
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