Pondering on Paper

September 13, 2018

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro


Ever Wonder is this paper supposed to be recycled? Read more to find out about frequently asked questions about mail, boxes, books, and shredded paper.


1. Do I need to remove the plastic windows on envelopes? What about the plastic around the opening of tissue boxes? No, those are fine to leave on your envelopes and tissue boxes. That small amount of plastic is not detrimental to paper mill processing. If anything has a plastic wrapping around it (several boxes of tissues, paper towels, etc), that should be removed and recycled at the grocery store. Break boxes down to save space in your recycling cart!


2. Is glossy paper ok, like magazines? Yes! We want your magazines, but not inside the plastic sleeves they sometimes come in. Photo paper cannot be recycled at this time.


3. Do I need to bundle or bag my paper products? No, everything should be loose in the bin. No bagging or bundling please it can damage equipment at the recycling center.


4. Are books recyclable? Paperback books are recyclable. Hardback books need to have the hardback covers removed and landfilled. (Please exhaust all other efforts to donate books before recycling!)


5. What about shredded paper should that be put in the bin loose too? The best way to put shredded paper in the recycling is stapled shut inside a paper bag (like from the grocery store). If for some reason that is not possible for you, we do make an exception to the "no plastic bags" rule when it comes to shredded paper, as long as the bag is securely closed.


6. What about paper plates and take-out containers? Paper plates and take-out containers are not recyclable. They can have a variety of non-paper materials and are often too soiled to be recycled into new paper products. Please put these items in the trash.