How to Recycle Paper

The Right Way!

Each municipality accepts different items making it even more difficult to figure out what is and what isn’t recyclable.  Let’s dig in and discover what kinds of paper are recyclable and how to stop filling our landfills with paper products

Paper recycling

Always check with your own waste management facility, and remember the zero waste lifestyle is about recycling less NOT more. IMPORTANT NOTE: The most important thing about recycling paper is that there is NO contamination in the recycling bin.

cardboard boxes:

You do NOT have to remove the tape and the labels (unless it’s excessive), but you should break the boxes down.

brown paper:

Brown paper is recyclable, but once again, before recycling see if someone else will take it and reuse it.

printer paper:

Most recycled printer paper gets remade into new printer paper, which is good. 

shredded paper:

The paper fibers have been shortened too much and the small shreds can jam machinery and contaminate bales of other materials.


Receipts are coated with Bisphenol A (BPA) and are not recyclable or compostable.


Are photos recyclable? Unfortunately not. The chemicals used to make photos simply cannot be processed in a recyclable way.

glossy magazines:

It is always better to reuse first before recycling. Once the magazine has lived a healthy life though, get it to your recycling center!

parchment paper:

Any paper that is stained with food or cooking oils is not recyclable so parchment paper is out.

butcher paper:

Butcher paper or freezer paper is coated with plastic. It’s neither recyclable or compostable.

wax paper:

If it’s coated with vegetable wax it’s compostable in an industrial setting. The petroleum-based paraffin is neither recyclable nor compostable.

paper cups:

Waste management facilities have to have special machinery that separates the plastic lining from the paper cup.

milk cartons:

Whether or not your waste management plant takes this type of material varies greatly town to town.

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