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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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  • Pattianne v. 4 days ago
    why are there no more quizzes etc. Think this site is almost over-sadly
  • Steven S. 5 days ago
    What ever happened to the "Persistent Pledger" award on Recyclebank? I've pledged probably 15 days straight and no award or points for doing so.
    • Nicole N. 5 days ago
      I reached out to Recyclebank late Friday night. Hopefully I'll hear something by Monday or so. I am getting the 5 points to daily pledge but no award for doing so for 5 straight days. Hence...."Persistent Pledger".
    • Lori L. 2 days ago
      I also sent them a message on Facebook and they told me they were looking into the problem. That was over a week ago. Sent another message about it AGAIN and nothing. This site is becoming a waste of time. I have over 30,000 points and can't even get anything with them.
  • Javier M. 16 days ago
    29 times, is that the answer?
  • John D. 1 month ago
    Hey Recyclebank, article FYI for ya: "How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled"
  • Javier M. 1 month 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!
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