Knowing exactly what can go in the recycling, and what has to be kept out, can be difficult to keep track of!
This can sometimes result in recyclable materials ending up in landfills, simply because we aren’t sure of the rules.
Recycling is important for many reasons. It’s good for the environment, it helps to reduce waste, and it saves money.
So if you want to recycle your magazines, here’s what you need to know about how to get started.
Are Magazines Recyclable?
Yes, magazines can be recycled! Magazines are typically only a short term purchase. We read them once, and then we’re done with them.
And while we might keep a few special editions around, no one wants big piles of magazines cluttering up the place.
But rather than putting them in the trash, these paper-based materials can go in the recycling!
Hundreds of millions of tons of waste is produced in the U.S. alone every single year.
But a lot of the things that end up in the landfill could be put to better use by being recycled.
Magazines are an easy material to recycle because they can, for the most part, be placed in curbside recycling.
Magazines also don’t need to be cleaned before being recycled, and a quick flick through can remove any supplements and fliers that need to go in the trash.
Sometimes recycling can feel like hard work, but that really isn’t the case with magazines. So, next time you’ve finished with your latest read, put it in the recycling!
Is Glossy Paper Recyclable?
It can be a surprise sometimes to find which materials can be recycled, and which have to go into the trash.
And the glossy coating of some magazines can seem a little too much like plastic to go in paper recycling.
But the good news is that even the glossiest of magazines can be recycled. The reason for this is the material that’s used to give the paper a glossy appearance.
Although it might come as a surprise, the shiny finish to your favorite magazines is created using clay.
Fine clay is pressed into the surface of the paper and seeps into all the gaps between the fibers. This creates a smooth finish that gives magazines their shine.
When the magazine is recycled, the clay is stripped along with the ink, and can be made into pulp.
Sometimes papers are coated with a type of plastic, but these are generally easy to distinguish from the regular glossy papers.
Plastic coated paper is thicker and harder to bend and tear.
How To Recycle Your Magazines
For the most part, you can just drop the magazines into your curbside recycling, and send them on their way.
However, if you’re a fan of fashion or beauty magazines, take a look through to make sure there aren’t any free plastic perfume samples lurking inside.
Any freebies like this should be removed before recycling, and disposed of in the correct way.
While most glossy magazines can be recycled, there are some coatings that you need to be aware of.
The majority of magazines are coated with natural materials that break down and can be recycled with the paper.
However, on some occasions, paper will be coated with a plastic known as Polyethylene, or PE.
This is more likely to be an insert rather than the magazine itself, but it’s something to be aware of. PE coated paper can’t be recycled.
A good way to tell if something is PE-coated is to try ripping it. If it’s very difficult to tear, it’s probably coated in polyethylene.
Alternatively, crumple the paper in your hand. If it stays crinkled, then it isn’t coated. If it won’t easily crumple, keep it out of recycling.
You also need to look out for paper with a metallic coating. Again, this is unlikely to be something you find in a magazine.
In fact, it’s most common with gift wrap. Try the crumple test again for metallic coated paper — if it won’t crumple, it probably can’t be recycled.
Why You Should Recycle Magazines
Recycling helps the environment by reducing the amount of material that gets put into landfills and causes waste.
In a landfill, a magazine will just sit there degrading and taking up space.
When recycled, your old magazines become something new, and the amount of waste in the world is reduced.
The reason magazines are so easy to recycle is that they’re made of wood pulp. This comes from trees. In order to make new paper, we have to cut down more trees.
And while sustainable tree farming is possible, it isn’t always done.
By recycling, we can prevent the number of trees being chopped down, which is better for the planet.
One of the best reasons to recycle old magazines is that it’s just so easy! There’s nothing special that needs to be done to a magazine before you put it in the recycling.
And by recycling your magazines, you can save room in the trash can for all the things that can’t be recycled.
What Else Can I Do With My Old Magazines?
Got some time until your next recycling day?
Rather than putting your magazines in the trash and sending them to the landfill, there are plenty of other ways to reuse old magazines.
You could try donating your old magazines.
Sometimes hospitals, dental offices, and places with waiting rooms will appreciate donations of magazines, especially if they’re good quality.
They might also be taken by schools and preschools, who will want to use the magazines for craft projects.
Or you can use them for your own craft projects. Magazines can be used for practicing origami and other paper crafts.
Finally, consider using your old magazines in place of gift wrap. With the tape removed, the paper can then be put in the recycling afterwards.
Magazines can be put into the recycling, even those with a glossy coating. Just make sure to remove any plastics that might be lurking in the pages.