How to Recycle Paper

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For every ton of paper that is recycled, 17 trees live. You can recycle most paper, including white office paper, newspaper and mixed-color paper, through a local curbside recycling program.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown Paper Bags
  • Old Newspapers
  • Recycle Bins
  • Twine
  • Check with your county department of public works to find out about local curbside recycling programs and community drop-off centers, or look under "Recycling" in the yellow pages. Also call 1 (800) CLEANUP for state recycling information.

  • Separate paper into three groups: white office paper, newspaper, and mixed-color paper. Most curbside programs will collect it this way.

  • Recycle all white office paper (usually from laser printers or copiers) together. Be sure to remove the wrappers they come in. These are a lower grade of paper and cannot be recycled with the white office paper and should be recycled with mixed-color paper.

  • Take newspapers, and place them in brown bags, which can be recycled with newspapers, or tie them in bundles with twine (a natural fiber). Colored advertising inserts can also be recycled with newspapers. Be sure to remove rubber bands, plastic and anything that is not paper.

  • Place all mixed-color paper together. This includes anything from magazines to junk mail. Staples do not need to be removed. Remove all plastic stickers, membership cards and anything that is not paper.

  • Contact the American Forest & Paper Association for more information about recycling paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some community recycling programs will let you recycle your old phone books either at the curb or once a year when the new ones come out. Check with your community's recycling program for more information.
  • Carbon paper, paper that is wax coated or stained with oil or food, tissue, sanitary products, thermal fax paper, juice boxes, fast food wrappers, pet food bags are not recyclable unless noted.
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