Updated on 12/02/2015.
Dear Recyclebank: We literally have buckets of metal paper clips that have accumulated over the years where I work. My theory is that they should be able to be recycled, but we don’t know. Do you? –Cindy G.
Dear Cindy: Most paper clips are made of steel wire, and can therefore be considered a metal, and are technically recyclable, though not really in your curbside bin.
Paper clips that are left attached to paper don’t interfere with the paper recycling process, but they probably won’t get recycled themselves because they are too small to get sorted along with most metal. Paper clips can definitely be recycled in bulk as scrap metal. Dropping them off at a local scrap-metal yard or an automotive junk yard is a valid option if you have buckets of paper clips.
However, one of the best things about paper clips is that they are reusable. So besides recycling them, do consider reusing them. Here are a few suggestions:
- Donate in bulk to local schools.
- Distribute at work; if left in a public area, it will encourage people to take from there vs. buying new ones.
- Checkout Pinterest or other sites for creative project ideas using paper clips. This blog piece has 10 inspiring ideas.