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Because You Asked

Is Glossy Paper Recyclable?

By Recyclebank |

There’s often confusion around where to put glossy paper, but there doesn’t have to be. Read on.


Dear Recyclebank: Can you recycle glossy paper? –Morgan L.

Dear Morgan L: Great question. Glossy paper, such as that found in magazines, fliers, junk mail, brochures, business cards, etc., is recyclable curbside.

Glossy paper gets it shiny surface from additives, such as minerals or resins that fill in the gaps in the fibers of the paper to create a smooth, shiny surface. Magazines, brochures, fliers and junk mail all fall into this category, and all belong in the recycle bin.

Most business cards also belong in the bin, with some exceptions. Some business cards have extra coatings made of polymers to make them more durable and impressive. While this coating creates that fancy look and adds a layer of professionalism, it also may make them unrecyclable. If you have those kinds of cards on your hands, test them to see if they will rip easily. If not, they probably aren’t recyclable.

Another one to watch out for it giftwrap. While many paper products can be recovered up to seven times before their fiber strength is lost, paper with a metallic coating, such as certain giftwraps, cannot be recycled.

Here’s an easy test for metallic-looking paper: Crumple it in your hand. If it remains crumpled, you can recycle it. If it doesn’t easily crumple, keep it out of the recycle.

If possible, try to steer clear of metallic paper to begin with, and purchase products that are responsibly sourced by looking for the Forest Steward Council seal.

Shopping green when you can, and participating in community recycling programs, are two positive things you can do to take an active role in creating a zero-waste economy.

If you’re the creative type, you could try some of these at-home glossy paper craft ideas:


1. Convert your old magazines into gift-wrap.


2. Create a collage.


4. Reuse unwanted business cards by turning them into bookmarks or into other creative, fun things.


So remember, normal glossy paper goes in the recycle bin. But before you put it there, why not repurpose it and have some fun with it by making something new and uniquely yours with it?




Have you done DIY projects with magazines or business cards? Share your tips in the comments!

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  • John D. 6 days ago
    Hey Recyclebank, article FYI for ya: "How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled"
  • Javier M. 24 days ago
    I like Judy's idea...."use glossy paper from magazines to cover plain white switch covers and outlets."....I am going to use celebrity faces, so I am plugging cords into their faces! Watch out, Ryan Seacrest and Amy Poehler!
  • Sue C. 27 days ago
    Good to know about glossy paper. And yes, I have put some of those glossy pages to good use. I keep recipes in a binder and have decorated the outside with some of these beautiful pictures. Sometimes you just find that picture of a completed recipe that you want to hang onto since it kind of inspires you
    to want to make it at some point in time. It has all the right ingredients too.
  • Lynne H. 1 year ago
    Please do NOT throw away your mascara wands. Instead, clean JUST THE WAND with dawn soap, place them in a ziploc bag and mail them to a Wildlife Refuge accepting donations. These little wands are able to be upcycled to clean away oil, larvae, fly eggs, mites, infections, mud and other contaminants from wildlife. Works great for medical care and wound treatment

    Pick your refuge to mail to:

    Appalachian Wild
    P.O. Box 1211
    Skyland NC 28776


    Wildlife Wands
    P.O. Box 1586
    Southwick, MA 01077.
  • deborah l. 1 year ago
    After an extensive road trip we found we had accumulated a lot of maos. I used these to wrap Christmas presents. Everyone loved it an d we spent hours discussing where their maps were from !
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